Fargo area schools step up security in response to threats on TikTok

FARGO (KVRR) – Extra police are on patrol at Fargo and West Fargo public schools today in response to TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the nation on Friday, Dec. 17.

The social media threats had many educators on edge as they circulated in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in Michigan which has been followed by numerous copycat threats to schools elsewhere.

The vague, anonymous posts circulating online warned that multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats.

The posts follow a 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 restrooms 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.

Letters below were sent to families in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo:

Dear FPS Parents,

Fargo Public Schools administration is aware of social media posts circulating nationwide regarding school safety concerns for schools today, December 17. These postings did not originate in our area.  No threat has been lodged toward a Fargo Public School in what is circulating nationwide.

Fargo Public Schools works collaboratively with the Fargo Police Department on safety concerns such as these.  Our police department is also aware of what is circulating on social media and plans to have added presence and patrols around all local schools today.

Please speak to your student about what they post, share or reshare on social media.  Sharing concerning information or threats to school safety on social media before bringing them to an adult disrupts school operations and the safe school environment and culture we are fostering at our schools.  Everyone has a role in ensuring our schools are safe.  Social media is a powerful tool, and we all need to work together to teach our students how to interact on it appropriately.

We take student safety very seriously. As always, our goal is to ensure students can learn in a safe environment.  Fargo Public Schools understands that social media postings of this nature raise concern for parents, students and staff. Please be assured that the safety and security of students and staff are always the school district’s primary concerns.

Sincerely,Rupak Gandhi, SuperintendentFargo Public Schools

Dear Families,

There are TikTok posts circulating nationwide stating that on Friday, Dec. 17, there is a challenge to call in bomb threats, school shooting threats, etc. These posts did not originate from our area and we have not had any threats or calls to any of our schools. 

Our local law enforcement has been informed and we are in constant communication to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Social media is a powerful tool. I would encourage you to check your student’s social media accounts and talk with them about the unacceptable nature of these actions and adverse effects of social media peer pressure. The district takes every threat seriously and those who engage in these activities will be given consequences, which would include the involvement of law enforcement.

Our number one priority at Moorhead Area Public Schools is keeping a safe environment for our students to thrive and learn. The district understands that incidents of this nature raise concern for parents, students and staff. Please be assured that the safety and security of students and staff are always the school district’s primary concerns.

On Tuesday, the West Fargo Police Department alerted our administration to social media posts circulating nationwide regarding threats of school violence for today, December 17. These postings did not originate in our area. There have been no threats directed at West Fargo Public Schools. 

We continue to ask for the support of our community in educating students that spreading rumors about school violence is not funny, is not a joke, and will not be tolerated.

As a district, our priority is ensuring that our students, families, and staff have confidence in our district’s ability to provide a safe learning and working environment. If you haven’t yet had a chance, we encourage you to read the message sent Tuesday morning regarding our emergency preparedness efforts.

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