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National TikTok challenge leaves schools, law enforcement on high alert

Posted at 4:18 PM, Dec 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 14:40:48-05

TALLAHASSEE — "Every day, kids are traumatized by this, something that we didn't have to deal with when we were kids. So yeah, it's pretty serious."

Parents and guardians across the country on edge right now after a series of challenges on social media.

Those challenges encourage kids to post threats of school violence on the video app TikTok.

The idea so alarming...

Local school districts like Valdosta City Schools gave parents the option to keep kids home today.

Other districts and law enforcement agencies in South Georgia and the Big Bend stepped up security just to be safe today.

First off, TikTok says it's removing those threats and warnings from its platform. They're calling it misinformation.

"Once you put a comment or a photo or a video out their to the internet it's out there forever."

A reminder from Crystal Parker. She's the community relations officer with the Thomasville Police Deparment. One of many departments across the country sending messages like this one to communites saying, "we are aware of a nationwide viral Tik Tok trend going around about school shooting and bomb threats."

South Georgia and North Florida schools are taking these threats seriously.

Valdosta City Schools gave parents options. In a recent facebook post they said "Due to these circumstances, we will offer the following options, you may keep your child at home. You may send your child to school. All schools will be on high alert."

In the Big Bend, Wakulla county Sheriffs office sending a similar message saying "the safety of wakulla county students, faculty and schools is one of the upmost importance."

"If they're seeing things on Tik Tok or any other online platform they need to take that with a grain of salt you know."

We checked with TikTok. On their Twitter page, they wrote in part quote: "We've exhaustively searched for content that promotes violence at schools today but we still have found nothing."

Despite that, Parker says parents need to have serious talks with their kids about what they're seeing and posting online.

"You might think you deleted it, but somewhere it's saved."

And The US Department of Homeland Security says it has no evidence to suggest users' claims are credible.

TikTok says it'll be keeping an eye out for more suspicious activity.

Sometimes the danger comes withoout a threat.

So far this year, Lecon County Sheriff's Office has removed 15 weapons from eight different Leon County School campuses.

A good reminder that if you see something, or if you hear something, say something.