There will be an increased police presence at schools in Bethel, Brookfeld, New Fairfield and New Milford among other districts. This comes in response to TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the country today.
State Police spokesman Pedro Muñiz says the vague, anonymous posts circulating online warned that multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats. The Connecticut Intelligence Center has been investigating and monitoring the social media trend. CTIC has not yet identified any specific or credible threats to any schools within the State of Connecticut.
If a threat is determined to be a hoax, State Police say there will be a thorough investigation and arrests will be made. This could also lead to further consequences within the school district.
The posts follow a disturbing trend that has had students acting out in response to social media challenges. In September, students across the U.S. posted videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers as part of the “devious licks” challenge. In October, students were challenged to slap a teacher, prompting the National Education Association to call on the leaders of Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to intervene.
Internet companies such as TikTok are generally exempt from liability under U.S. law for the material users post on their networks, thanks in large part to the legal “safe harbor” they are given by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.