Police and school officials say nationwide TikTok threat not credible but urge caution

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — TikTok is known for rising people to instant internet stardom with its short clips. But, as of Thursday, the social media platform is trending for something other than viral dance moves.

According to several law enforcement agencies in the Capital Region, a threat on the platform is calling for violence at schools across the country Friday, December 17. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says the threat is “unsubstantiated”, but this is not the first time schools have dealt with possible threats trending on TikTok.

“We’ve talked to people from all across the country. There’s nothing credible right here at all,” Sheriff Apple says, “nor is there anything credible I think in across the country. But these things are getting progressively worse right? A few months ago we had situations where they were punching people.”

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Bethlehem and Troy police departments, to name a few, are also echoing what Sheriff Apple has said: there is no credible threat, but that does not mean they are letting their guard down.

According to the Saratoga Springs Police Department, they will “continue to monitor the situation, work with our partner entities, and gauge our response accordingly.” Sheriff Apple says, “in our case, we’ve spoken to all the schools and principals and SROs (School Resource Officers) as well. And the SROs will be at the schools. We will have a heightened presence. We want the kids and parents to know that their kids are going to be safe.” 

Many of these threats, the sheriff says, are made by kids seeking fame. What may appear as a joke, the sheriff cautions, can turn into something serious with real consequences. “We urge everybody to air on the side of caution. Go back to what we’ve been saying since 9/11: ‘if you see something, say something’. Contact us and let us be the ones who evaluate and decide whether to take it more seriously or let it be unsubstantiated.” 

In light of the recent fatal school shooting in Michigan, school districts like Schodack and Saratoga Springs are asking parents to take the time to talk with their kids about appropriate usage of social media and how serious, whether a joke or not, these threats are taken.

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