Southeastern Washington schools & police hold firm against violent TikTok threats

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A viral TikTok trend threatening “shootings and bomb threats for every school in the U.S.A” has school districts and police across Southeastern Washington assuring their families that precautions are being taken to keep students safe.

The threat is targeting today—Friday, December 17, 2021—likely because it’s the final day before Winter break for many school districts across the country; including most Tri-Cities area schools. While there haven’t been any substantial threats against schools in the Southeastern Washington region, authorities are taking precautions in case any local students got caught up in the trend.

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps amongst school-age children because of its accessibility and wide range of content.

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Some school districts have opted to increase police presence on Friday to improve public safety. The Kennewick Police Department detailed its response efforts and enhanced patrols in a social media post that offered the following reassurance:

The Kennewick Police Department is aware of the school threats circulating on TikTok and other social media platforms. At this time, no specific schools or locations have been identified. While we do not believe the threats to be credible, the safety of the students and staff at Kennewick School District remains vitally important to us. Our Patrol division is providing extra patrol at local schools and our School Resource Officers continue to communicate with school district employees. We are committed to your safety!

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Other authorities like those at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office took Friday as an opportunity to connect with students in their region. Deputies visited schools across their jurisdiction to strengthen the bond between local law enforcement and the children they work to protect.

Notes were sent to parents across Pasco, Richland, Kennewick, Walla Walla, Hermiston, Benton City, and beyond. Ultimately, these threats have not been substantiated in Southeastern Washington communities—though local law enforcement is being vigilant in preventing a tragedy before the holidays.

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