Local law enforcement adds safety measures at schools because of disturbing national TikTok trend

Local News

MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – A national threat of violence towards schools stemming from a TikTok challenge is being taken very seriously here in Northeast Wisconsin. 

There weren’t specific threats against the Menasha Joint School District on Friday. But because of this disturbing national TikTok challenge which asks kids to commit violence against their schools, the Menasha Police Department wasn’t leaving anything to chance.

“(We are doing) added patrols at pickup and dropoff time, during the school lunch hours, during passing time anytime the students are congregating in large groups,” said community liaison officer for the Menasha Police Department Shelby Birkholz. “(Our officers are) doing different passes to make sure there’s nothing suspicious and monitoring social media too.”

Birkholz reminds students that if they see threats on social media to refrain from sharing the content. They should instead contact law enforcement or the school district to report the activity.

Menasha Joint School District has an online portal where students can make anonymous reports if they see a threat.

“We want to make sure we take all threats seriously, if you see something say something,” added Birkholz.

Appleton Area School District and the Appleton Police Department released this joint statement to district families on Thursday.

The Appleton Area School District has become aware of a national trend on the social media platform TikTok. The trending posts refer to a threat to school safety on Friday, December 17.

The posts did not originate in our school district nor do they refer specifically to an AASD school. We have also heard reports from other districts that the same posts are circulating in their schools. 

The district has been in contact with the Appleton Police Department regarding the posts. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with our School Resource Officers (SRO) and taking it seriously.

This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online. 

If you or your student become aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anywhere else, please notify a school administrator or SRO as soon as possible.

As always, thank you for your partnership as we work to ensure a safe, secure, and positive learning environment for our students.

Dr. Judith Baseman
Superintendent of Schools

Chief Todd Thomas
Appleton Police Department

Kirk Lazich has kids in the Appleton Area School District and received this email on Thursday. “Kind of freaked me out a little, (in the) back of my head (it) worried me,” explained Lazich.

He says he appreciates the job the school district has done communicating with parents about this because there’s nothing more important to him than his children’s safety.

“Every day it’s in the back of our head (his children’s safety), at the same time we want our kids to be safe and not worry them about that,” said Lazich.

Birkholz says that parents should monitor their kids’ social media use, set parental controls when appropriate, and have conversations with kids about the dangers of social media and how to use social media safely.

She says that somebody that makes online threats towards a school can be arrested for making terroristic threats. 

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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