Speed Reads

nothingburger

TikTok-driven 'National Shoot up Your School Day' panic leads to several closures but no shootings

At least six districts in states ranging from New York to Montana closed schools Friday in response to a viral TikTok trend that warned of widespread school violence, The New York Times reported.

Officials in Utah alleged that the trend, known as "National Shoot up Your School Day," started as an attempt by students to get a day off school.

Aaron Mak, writing for Slate, argues that the germ of the story was more likely a Facebook screenshot that may or may not have originated in Toole County, Utah. 

The anonymous author of the post threatened to carry out a shooting on Dec. 17 at a school called "GHS." There is a Granger High School in Toole County, but one school administrator told local CBS affiliate KUTV that the threat "came from out of state." Granger did not cancel classes Friday, but Gilroy High School, located outside San Francisco, California, did. Gilroy police in turn concluded the threat was actually referring to Garfield High School in Los Angeles, while other officials suggested one of the several high schools in Colorado with the initials GHS.

On Friday, TikTok said it had found no content actively promoting school violence, only videos expressing concerns about the possibility of school violence. "We're working to remove alarmist warnings," TikTok posted on its official Twitter account. "If we did find promotion of violence on our platform, we'd remove and report it to law enforcement."

Even without a credible threat, federal law enforcement still expressed concern. One source told CNN that, although the rumors about nationwide school shootings were baseless, an unstable individual exposed to them might have felt encouraged to carry out an actual attack.