TikTok “School Shooting Challenge” sparks concerns from local school leaders

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -A threat to schools nationwide is circulating on the popular social media app “TikTok” and causing concern among parents and school leaders here in Eastern North Carolina.

A number of vague videos on TikTok warned of school shootings that would occur on Friday, Dec. 17.

Some schools across the nation closed because of the threat. Meanwhile, Lenoir County Public Schools and many other area schools stayed open.

Lenoir County Public Schools Spokesperson, Patrick Holmes, says the schools were on alert.

“What we did was increase our visibility of law enforcement on all our campuses,” Holmes said. “We responded in that way.”

No school shootings were directly correlated to the TikTok trend.

Local counselor, Sarah Stein-Wolf, says viral threats like these could become more common as many teens look to social media for validation.

“Kids brains are still developing,” Wolf said. “The brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25. They’re not always understanding that what they may do may have lasting ripple effects and go far beyond just likes and approval from their peers.”

Recently school leaders nationwide were on high alert for other TikTok trends as well, including damaging school property and smacking your teacher.

Holmes warns those who are thinking about taking part in any inappropriate trend will be dealt with accordingly.

“This is not a game. This is actually a needlessly disruptive act. By spreading this on social media, it’s increasing the level of fear among students and their parents,” Holmes said.

The FBI is investigating the TikTok challenge.

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