Threats of School Shooting on Social Media Allegedly Made by Students to Get Out of Class

Schools in Utah's Tooele County School District faced multiple social media threats about a potential school shooting on December 17, but police believe the threats were made by students in an attempt to get out of class.

On Wednesday, school officials said that they were made aware of the various threats that they believe originated on TikTok and were then posted to Instagram and Twitter.

"The school district is taking each threat that has been reported seriously and is involving law enforcement to help investigate each situation," officials said in a statement. "We want to remind all students and parents when you see a threat, report it, do not repost it. Reposting a threat serves no purpose other than adding to the fear and uncertainty of the situation."

School officials are asking anyone with any information to contact the police immediately. Officials also stated that any students caught making potentially violent threats on social media or causing a disturbance while at school will face potential charges.

The threats for December 17 are not limited to Utah schools, though. It is believed that the threats are circulating social media around the nation, with schools in various states across the U.S. monitoring the threats and calling in the police to be on alert.

On December 10, a high school principal in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania informed parents that police were investigating a threat written on a bathroom stall saying there would be a school shooting on December 17.

In Florida, school administrators in the Citrus County School District warned parents about the national TikTok trend that threatened gun violence on December 17.

"We've been made aware of a TikTok threat circulating social media nationally regarding gun violence at schools," the statement read. "Specifically, the viral threat focuses on a shooting at a school on Friday, December 17th. It seems this social media threat is being seen in school districts across the country and state. At this time, the origins of this threat are unknown."

Administrators said the threat is being monitored by the sheriff's office as well as school guardians.

Gun shelf with American flag
Schools across the country are on high alert after a viral threat circulated social media claimed there would be gun violence at various schools on December 17. "It seems this social media threat is being seen in school districts across the country and state," Utah school officials said. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

In Virginia, a 17-year-old was arrested on Wednesday after he posted a threatening message on social media. According to the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office, the high school student posted a threat with a picture of a handgun to social media.

Since the tragedy at Oxford High School in Michigan that killed four students, there have been more than 519 reports of schools closing due to threats of violence. Schools from various states including Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, and Connecticut, paused in-person classes due to the various threats circulating around.

"Clearly, this shows that there are too many guns on our streets and it is far too easy to get them," said Mia Senechal, the deputy organizing director at gun violence prevention group March For Our Lives. "These closures and this danger has a real, tangible impact on young people's mental health and well-being. We're going to carry this on. We're the lockdown generation. It's utterly shameful that we've let this crisis get this bad."