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3 Kansas City area school districts send letters to families warning about TikTok challenge

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 22:31:15-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three Kansas City area school districts have sent letters to families about a new TikTok challenge that encourages students to threaten gun violence against schools on Friday.

The Blue Valley School District, Shawnee Mission School District and Olathe Public Schools all sent letters to families Thursday about the challenge that suggested families should discuss the pressures of social media and the consequences of making these kinds of threats with their children.

All three of letters stated that none of the districts had received any sort of threats, and the letters were sent to create awareness of the issue.

"I am asking for your help. Please take some time to talk to your child(ren) about the pressures of social media and the potential consequences of engaging in this type of behavior," Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Michelle Hubbard said in the letter. "I worry that, with the wide availability of cell phones and social media, some of our young people will inadvertently make mistakes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. As a reminder, in today’s world, it is never okay to make any kind of joke or threat about school violence, period."

Hubbard also asked that family members speak to their children about the challenge, tell them not to repost any threatening posts or messages and tell a trusted adult about anything they see.

The Blue Valley School District asked families to help them in three ways:

  1. Talk with your child about being socially responsible and kind, and express the severity of this challenge.
  2. Speak up if you or your child see something concerning. 
  3. Report any concerning comments or behaviors to a trusted staff member or law enforcement immediately.

"Blue Valley schools will not tolerate any threats of violence made against any school, staff member or student. Any threats will be taken seriously and will be reported to local law enforcement," the letter said. "Challenges like this are not jokes or pranks. Threats of violence can result in serious disciplinary and legal action."

Olathe Public Schools wrote in the letter asking families to talk to their students about the "appropriate use of social media, and about the serious consequences of making any kind of threat."

A spokesperson for the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department said Thursday night that their department has been made aware of the "social media posts circulating in recent days indicating threats of violence at several schools throughout the nation."

"No specific information concerning threats or attacks planned at schools in our area have been deemed credible," the spokesperson said. "Our department will continue to monitor this situation."