OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – School districts in the Oklahoma City metro area are responding to a threat posted on social media platform TikTok against schools across the nation.
Oklahoma City Public Schools, Edmond Public Schools, Putnam City School District, Deer Creek Public Schools and the Mid-Del School District all issued statements Thursday concerning a TikTok trend threatening gun violence in schools on Friday, Dec. 17.
“The post refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ said Edmond Superintendent Angela Grunewald in an sent to parents and guardians.
Edmond school officials are taking the threat seriously, according to Grunewald.
“While we do not believe the threat to be specific to our local community, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously,” she said.
Oklahoma City Public Schools officials are also taking the threat seriously, as the OKCPS Security team remains in close contact with Oklahoma City police.
“We do not believe there is any credible threat to any OKCPS school site at this time. [OKC Police] are confident the TikTok did not originate in Oklahoma City, and at this point are not even sure it started in the U.S.,” OKCPS officials said in their message to students’ families. “That said, OKCPS takes all threats seriously and any statement that might threaten or imitate a threat to our students is prohibited. Any student determined to be involved with such a threat will be disciplined according to the OKCPS Student Code of Conduct.”
Edmond police are also aware of the threat and ready to respond if necessary, Grunewald said.
“They are prepared to provide an additional presence in and around our buildings as an added precaution,” she said.
The Putnam City School District also notified families that they are aware of the threat.
“Like all schools across the United States, we’re taking the threat seriously. We don’t believe that it’s credible right now, but we are adding an additional police presence to our campuses,” said Kathleen Kennedy, the school district’s spokesperson. “but we’re wanting parents to be on the lookout. We want them to work with us as a team and to monitor their kids’ social media accounts and to have a conversation with their kids to let them know that these kinds of challenges are not OK and that if they see something, to say something.”
Putnam City Schools has a full-time police force already but is also partnering with Warr Acres, Bethany and OKCPD for added police presence.
“It’s our duty. It’s our obligation to provide a safe environment for our students so parents feel confident sending their children to school and knowing that they’re going to come home to them at the end of the day,” Kennedy said.
Mid-Del Superintendent Rick Cobb said Mid-Dell school officials have spoken with law enforcement agencies in Del City, Midwest City, Oklahoma City and Forest Park.
“We may have an increased security presence in our buildings on Friday as an added precaution,” Cobb said.
Deer Creek School District Superintendent Jason Perez said his district has been in contact with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office about the threat.
Classes will continue as previously planned with final exams being held.
Threats have not been made locally, but any threat from a local student will be swiftly investigated, and the student will be subject to school and criminal consequences, school officials said.
“This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats,” all three school district emails said. “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.”