By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
All was quiet on Friday across Wyoming’s school districts after many increased security measures due to threats of violence that circulated nationally across the social media app TikTok.
A message spread across TikTok throughout the week claiming numerous school shootings would occur on Friday prompted school officials across the state to take extra precautions, such as bringing in police officers to patrol areas around schools.
Multiple school districts in Wyoming — Laramie County School District No. 1 in Cheyenne, Natrona County School District No. 1 in Casper, Uinta County School District No. 4 in Mountain View Park County School District No. 1 in Powell and Park County School District No. 6 in Cody — responded to the threat by adding security measures on Friday.
LCSD1 spokeswoman Mary Quast told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that it was a “pretty routine” school day, despite the concern.
“We did see a decrease in attendance today, which is likely due to it being the Friday prior to a long break and other variables like family travel and nice weather,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “Also, some of this decrease could have been the result of the threat that was posed through social media.”
Casper Police School Resource Sgt. Scott Jones made it clear Thursday that anyone taking part in making threats toward a school could face criminal charges.
“We would like to remind all individuals, regardless of age, that a violent threat toward a school is illegal,” said Casper Police Department School Resource Sergeant Scott Jones. “The Casper Police Department will vigorously investigate any claim of violence and hold the person responsible for the threat accountable. In Wyoming, that means a felony arrest for making a terroristic threat. We find this and similar trends highly disturbing and encourage all parents and guardians to have a conversation with their children about the real life consequences as result of these trends.”
According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Friday morning it had no evidence to suggest the claims are credible but encouraged the public to “remain alert.”
On Friday afternoon, TikTok said it had begun removing the threats from its platform as misinformation.
“We’ve exhaustively searched for content that promotes violence at schools today, but have still found nothing. What we find are videos discussing this rumor and warning others to stay safe,” the company said in a tweet. “Local authorities, the FBI, and DHS have confirmed there’s no credible threat, so we’re working to remove alarmist warnings that violate our misinformation policy. If we did find promotion of violence on our platform, we’d remove and report it to law enforcement.”
Wyoming was not the only state taking the threats seriously. School districts across the nation, from Utah to Texas, had taken some sort of measures to prevent any violence occurring on Friday, ranging from added security to even school closures, CNN reported.