Horseshoe Bend School

File / The Outlook

A series of TikTok posts threatening gun violence "in every school in the USA, even elementary" may lead to an increased police presence at Tallapoosa County Schools Friday.

While the origin of the Dec. 17 threat is unclear, multiple TikTok videos that perpetuate the rumor of a widespread shooting has caught the attention of school districts across the country, with at least two districts in Michigan and Washington planning to be in lockdown Friday.

In a letter sent out to parents Thursday, Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Ray Porter said the district is aware of the "troubling post."

"The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend and did not originate in our school

district," Porter stated. "We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously."

Similarly worded statements quoted in news reports in Atlanta, Georgia and Tacoma, Washington suggest the letter to parents has been distributed widely to school administration.

According to Porter, local law enforcement has been notified and students and staff may see an increased police presence on campus Friday.

"This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats," Porter stated. "Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children's social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online.

If you or your child become aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anywhere else, please notify a school staff member or trusted adult right away."

Thursday's letter was not the first to alert parents of a TikTok trend. In September, Alexander City and Tallapoosa County school systems issued statements on Facebook warning parents of a challenge to commit "devious licks," or petty theft or vandalism, circulating on TikTok. Both school districts said the trend had encouraged several incidents of property damage on their campuses.

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