Increased security in local schools, online threats deemed not to be credible
Local school officials and law enforcement responded to a TikTok threat to shut down schools on Friday.
Due to threats on the popular social media site, which were deemed not to be credible, Meriden officials have increased the police presence at every school. The threats were nationwide and not specific to a city or state school.
âWe have been made aware of a TikTok post indicating violence in schools across the country on December 17, 2021,â Superintendent Mark Benigni said in an email to parents on Thursday. “We are working closely with the Meriden Police Department, and there is no credible evidence of a specific threat to public schools in Meriden.”
The online post said schools would face gunfire and bomb threats. The Department of Homeland Security said in a tweet Thursday that it had “no information indicating specific and credible threats against schools, but recommends communities to remain vigilant.”
Due to the vagueness of the threats, parents in the state kept their children at home on Friday.
Meriden Police Sgt. Michael Boothroyd said while the threats were not credible, it was important to take the precautionary measures of an additional police presence.
âWe work closely with schools when things like this happen, to keep students safe.â he said. âObviously, their safety comes first. When possible threats like this arise, detectives work around the clock to try to verify where they are coming from.
School officials in Wallingford and Cheshire sent similar emails to Benigni, assuring parents and students that there would be an increased police presence and condemning the behavior.
“These threats are also an opportunity to remind all of our students of the serious implications of threatening behavior,” said Wallingford Superintendent Danielle Bellizzi. âStudents who engage in such behavior are subject to significant disciplinary action and a referral to law enforcement for prosecution. ”
TikTok posted a statement on Twitter on Friday morning regarding the rumors.
“We even treat rumors of threats with the utmost seriousness,” the statement said. “This is why we are working with law enforcement to review warnings of potential violence in schools, although we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading through TikTok.”
Twitter: @ faith_williams2