Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools send memo home amid TikTok ‘violence challenges’; Wake Co. Sheriff releases statement

Orange County News

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 filer, a logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system sent a statement home to families and staff on Thursday as an uptick in fake threats and violence is growing in the local community, and nationally, in what is described as a TikTok violence challenges.

The school system said a great number of students, families and school employees have brought concerns to the attention of numerous school officials about threats to school safety seen on social media.

“Earlier this week, what first appeared to be vague social media posts/comments related to one or two schools (but not necessarily a CHCCS school), now appears to be part of a larger national issue,” Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools said. “Today, the Center for Safer Schools (part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction) informed us that several states have reported seeing warnings across TikTok related to violence in schools this Friday, Dec. 17. However, in consultation with local law enforcement, we have no reason to believe these are credible, imminent threats.”

The memo also said the school system joins the Center for Safer Schools in reiterating that there is no known specific threat to any school in North Carolina despite the seemingly ongoing posts.

“That being said, you know how seriously we take all comments related to school safety. In working with our partners at the Chapel Hill and Carrboro police departments, we have arranged for an additional police presence at our schools tomorrow,” the school system said.

The TikTok challenge is encouraging kids to post threats to schools online in hopes of making them seem believable enough to create causes for concerns, lockdowns or even cancelations.

“We ask for your assistance in discussing with your student(s) the seriousness of any communications or actions that allude to school threats in any way. Additionally, you may also use our anonymous tip lines if you see or hear about something that concerns you,” the memo said.

Additionally, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office released an official statement Friday morning about the ongoing threats.

“The Wake County Sheriff’s Office remains on alert and is ready to respond to any incident that threatens the safety of students and school staff. Along with School Resource Officers that are assigned at all middle schools in the Wake County Public Schools System and one high school, East Wake High School, the Sheriff’s Office has a plan in place to add additional resources if necessary,” Sheriff Gerald Baker said. “Whether the threats are credible or not, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office remains vigilant and on the ready to respond to any incident.” 

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