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Some KC school districts saw lower attendance Friday following national TikTok challenge

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 18:28:06-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a TikTok challenge threatening violence against schools nationwide Friday sparked national attention, some Kansas City-area school districts saw a decrease in attendance.

KSHB 41 News reached out to 17 school districts in the Kansas City-area to ask about attendance in schools and their response to the situation.

Executive Director of Public Relations for the Lee's Summit School District Katy Bergen said the district was aware of the TikTok challenge, and the Lee's Summit Police Department provided extra support Friday.

"The district is closely monitoring the situation, and has not acquired any information that suggests a credible threat to our school campuses," the spokesperson said. "We have seen lower attendance in some of our schools."

North Kansas City Schools said they won't know the attendance numbers until a later date, but the district is expecting lower attendance numbers because it is the last day of the semester.

Extra Clay County Sheriff's deputies were present in and around North Kansas City Schools to "ease concerns," according to a Facebook post from the sheriff's office.

Dallas Ackerman, director of communications for Liberty Public Schools, said that while he doesn't have specific details on student attendance Friday, he thought attendance was lower than normal for their middle schools and high schools.

"I think it is pretty safe to say that attendance was lower than normal at our secondary level," Ackerman said. "This is likely stemming from that national TikTok social media deal that has gained quite a bit of attention in recent days."

The Platte County School District did not see any significant changes in their attendance numbers Friday, but the district did share information with families about the TikTok challenge.

"Our schools did share some information about the national TikTok trend to encourage conversations with students about the seriousness of making such threats, and our [school resource officers] and local law enforcement are also on alert," Laura Hulett, director of communications for the district, said.

A spokesperson for Olathe Public Schools said that the district has not heard anything from their school principals indicating low attendance Friday.

It was a similar story in the Blue Valley School District. The spokesperson for the district said they hadn't heard any updates about attendance leading them to believe attendance was in a normal range.

Blue Valley and other school districts sent letters to families Thursday warning them about the TikTok challenge. The content of those letters focused on how families can help educate their kids on the consequences of making these kinds of threats and the pressures of social media.

Both Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools and Hickman Mills School District are already on winter break.