Cincinnati-area schools adding police presence ahead of TikTok ‘challenge’ calling on students to make threats Friday

Classroom seating.

Credit: Elizabeth Ruiz, WCPO

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Classroom seating.

Credit: Elizabeth Ruiz, WCPO

CINCINNATI — A TikTok challenge has prompted an increased police response at schools on Friday around the Tri-State and across the country.

The challenge, which dubs Friday, Dec. 17 as “National Shoot Up Your School Day”, encourages students to make threats of violence against their school.

Cincinnati Public Schools issued a statement on its website Thursday, acknowledging the challenge and providing the steps it is taking to combat any potential issues.

The school district said it will be working directly with Cincinnati police for increased security presence at schools across the district. The school wrote that the challenge has not presented any specific threats. CPS said it encourages parents to talk to their kids about the consequences of such actions, which can include disciplinary action with the school, but also with law enforcement.

The Blanchester Local School District is adding increased police presence in advance of the day, but also in light of a gun being found in a student’s locker at Blanchester High School Thursday morning. No direct threat was made to the high school and the student, who police described as having “special needs”, was not taken into custody.

Forest Hills, Sycamore Schools and Little Miami School District are also adding an increased police presence as a result of the potential threat activity, with each district noting that there were no specific threats made to their districts.

The challenge was the most searched for thing on Google in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, the results of which showed news stories from across the country talking about these same things: Increased police presence at schools about non-specific, potential threats.

Facebook groups full of parents from districts like Anderson Township began filling up with concerns about the TikTok challenge, with many wondering if it is safer to keep their kids home for the day as a precaution. The threats have not been deemed credible by any local police agencies and the reaction has been described as precautionary at many districts.

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