Schools nationwide were on higher alert than usual after an alarming TikTok trend titled “National Shoot Up Your School Day” circulated on the video app on December 17. The unnerving trend began circulating in recent weeks, posing a “challenge” for students to commit acts of violence in school. Naturally, parents, students, school staffers, and law enforcement are concerned about any potential threat to student and staff safety, though the trend doesn’t name a specific district, school, or location.
So far, it doesn’t seem there are any credible threats posed to students or schools, but with hundreds of videos on TikTok mentioning threats to school safety (and record high school shootings in the U.S. in 2021 alone), every threat must be taken seriously, with some schools across multiple states increasing police presence throughout the day in an effort to prevent any violent incidents from occurring. Local districts and officials have addressed the threats in communications with parents on social media, expressing a hyper vigilance to any possible or potential threat and a promise to work closely with authorities as a preventative measure.
It appears that TikTok is working to remove threatening videos from the app, also responding to the trend in a tweet posted yesterday, which noted that they’re working with law enforcement to investigate potential violence. The FBI told Bloomberg in a statement that they’re taking all potential threats seriously, adding, “We regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats.”
The trend unfolds days after the December 14th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead nine years ago, and within weeks of a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, which left four students dead.
“Students, parents and educators are needlessly being traumatized over and over because of threats of shootings and actual incidents of gun violence in their schools,” Shannon Watts, the founder of the grassroots movement Moms Demand Action, tells SheKnows in a statement. “Tragically, our nation’s radicalized gun lobby and their gun extremist allies block policies and gag conversations that could help limit students’ access to guns.”
While the U.S. Department of Education tells SheKnows in a statement, “The Department is aware of the threats being made against schools across the country on social media. Schools should work with local law enforcement to ensure their school communities are safe.”
There have been a record number of shooter incidents at schools so far this year, according to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, including nine active and 235 non-active incidents. Here’s hoping the threats do not materialize into any actual harm to human life, and that 2022 will bring actionable gun control and safety measures to prevent any more shooting incidents from threatening the safety of families across the country.
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