Safety concerns were shared by parents, students and school administrators across North Texas on Thursday as a wave of school shootout threats surfaced across the country.
A TikTok challenge of issuing false threats of violence is just the latest online phenomenon causing real-world disruption for schools.
On Friday, Kaufman High School will be closed out of “excess of caution”.
In a statement to NBC5, the district told:
This is in response to a December 17th threat against school violence.
The threat we received was anonymous, but campus and date specific for Kaufman HS and December 17th.
This follows a national, viral TikTok trend that is affecting many campuses across the country.
There is an ongoing investigation and the Kaufman ISD administration is working with Kaufman ISD PD as well as all other local law enforcement agencies.
Several other counties sent letters to parents saying they were investigating potential threats.
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD said a threat of violence against GHS on Jan.
This message is intended to proactively inform parents so that you can talk to your student tomorrow. Through our ongoing partnership with the Grapevine, Colleyville and Euless Police Departments, we will expeditiously investigate any potential threat of violence. Not only are threats thoroughly investigated, but appropriate disciplinary action is taken.
We will continue to emphasize “see something, say something” as we believe it is our shared responsibility to keep our students and staff safe. Please encourage your student to bring any safety concerns to a trusted adult, either at school or at home. Only through our joint efforts can we ensure a safe learning environment for all students.
Carrollton Police went a step further and publicly reminded that launching or disseminating false information about security threats in schools could result in a hefty fine and jail sentence.
Still, UTD professor and author of The Dark Side of Social Media, James Honeycutt, said it can be tempting for teenagers to take part in viral challenges on social media.
“It’s a game. These things are considered entertainment games, although they can have very serious consequences, ”Honeycutt said.
This is especially true of the developing youthful brain.
“Social contagion means that it spreads to a large number of users because they feel their responsibilities have been removed,” says Honeycutt. “It is also called the follower effect. Jump on the train. That is the appeal. “
School psychologist and TWU professor Wendi Johnson said that as teenagers develop their own identities, they may turn to social media to see where they fit into society.
“We have to have these tough conversations. We need to empower the children so they know that being seen and heard that way isn’t more important, ”said Johnson.
She encourages parents to help their children develop a core relationship with at least one adult as early as possible.
“Then they hear things in the hallway or things that are some of those trends that are really increasing, they know who to turn to. They know who to talk to. They have these strong relationships with parents and teachers and positive circles of friends so we can take action early as a community, ”said Johnson.
Common Sense Media, which rates media and technology based on suitability for children, encourages parents to encourage older children and adolescents to think through a challenge and potential outcomes. They also suggest recognizing peer pressure in conversations about online behavior and modeling responsible online habits.