NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Schools across the country are responding to threats posted on TikTok, including Niles City Schools.
According to its Facebook page, the administration canceled class on Friday out of caution. The school will be closed until Jan. 3, 2022.
Liberty Local Schools also announced the decision to close Friday.
The plan was to originally cancel school Friday at Blott Guy PK-6.
But with the additional threats made nationwide on social media, the district decided to use today as a “calamity day.”
At least six states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, are strengthening security measures at schools following posts on TikTok.
Local social media expert Adam Earnheardt says it takes is one person posting a message to social media to get attention and it takes off from there.
“Unfortunately what happens is one person picks that up and it just has the snowball effect until something like that turns viral and then it gains national attention, sometimes international attention,” Earnheardt said.
The posts indicated possible school violence near the end of the year, including shootings and bomb threats.
Austintown Locals Schools administration sent an all-call to parents reassuring them that school resource officers are aware of this trend.
Poland Local Schools also got an all-call to parents.
In Hubbard, the students got a visit from police dog officer Oakley to take their minds off of it and to calm them down.
“He was up there this morning. He spent the day at the high school, middle school and the elementary school. We walked around and visited the kids and he just puts a smile on everybody’s face so when we have something that comes out like this, we don’t change a whole lot. We do add some security and take some security measures,” said Hubbard City Police Chief Bob Thompson.
West Middlesex superintendent Raymond Omer sent a letter to parents yesterday explaining they are aware of the threat and have contacted Shenango Township Police Department. According to the letter, the police say don’t believe there is a specific threat to the district.
Poland Local Schools like many others have a zero tolerance for any violence.
“We also have work that we have to do and it disrupts everything. Teachers can’t start lessons because attendance is down because parents may be a little apprehensive to send their kids and it just has a negative impact,” said Poland superintendent Craig Hockenberry.
The threats followed the Oxford Township, Michigan school shootings where four students were killed on November 30.
Officials said one way to try to stop these posts from going viral is to have parents or caregivers explain the huge consequences that sharing a post like that could have for their future.