TikTok school threats leaving parents and teachers on edge

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Parents are voicing their concerns about online school threats after videos have gone viral on TikTok. Some schools across the country even told parents to keep their children home Friday.

TikTok is a popular video app, featuring videos like pranks, dances, and other forms of entertainment. Lately, some students have been following a viral trend about school shootings and bomb threats, that’s leaving parents and teachers on edge.

“I know as a parent I worry daily when he goes to school. I hugged him when I dropped everything off, made sure I told him a loved him,” Erin Ledsome, a parent said.

Detective Jonathan Payne with the Hurricane Police Department says officers take these threats very seriously.

“We’re able to track that threat down and we can verify that it came from their phone, and we have enough evidence, without a doubt we can pursue a terroristic threat which is a felony in the state of West Virginia,” Payne said.

Even students say the threats are scary.

“Yeah, I am a little bit nervous to go to school because you never know what will happen,” Jayden Ledsome, a student said.

On TikTok, everyone’s For You page and algorithm is different based on videos you like. Ledsome says she may have missed it.

“We used to blame it on video games and now we have Tik Tok and Snapchat and those things are not consecutive on everybody’s page. I wouldn’t have known about it if I wasn’t on the mom TikTok because that’s the first thing that popped up,” Ledsome said.

Payne says students should think about what they’re doing before posting.

“For a juvenile, obviously it’s going to be a little bit different just because juvenile court systems are much more different than the adult court system, but they are definitely looking at consequences,” Payne said.

Officers encourage parents to get more involved in their child’s life, which is exactly what Ledsome is doing.

 “I do want to make sure I’m able to be in his phone. I’m able to see what’s being said,” Ledsome said.

Officers encourage people to speak up if they do see something and don’t wait so they can start investigating immediately.

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