Schools districts across Sussex County are responding to reports of mass shooting and bomb threats that were made online as part of a viral nationwide TikTok trend on social media.
Many schools took steps to increase security Friday, adding armed constables in addition to their school resource officers, including the Indian River School District who issued the following statement to parents Thursday evening.
“The Indian River School District and local law enforcement take these threats seriously and investigate each one thoroughly,” Indian River officials stated. “Our investigations have determined that none of these threats are credible. However, our school constables and school resource officers will remain vigilant in protecting the safety of students and staff on a daily basis.”
Milford School District also issued a statement to parents via Facebook, asking them to speak to their children while emphasizing that the threats remain unsubstantiated.
“The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend. The Delaware State Police and Milford Police Department have confirmed that there is no known threat at this time,” the statement read. “Any threat to our schools will have consequences to the fullest extent. Thank you for your partnership as we work together to ensure a safe, secure, and positive learning environment for all.”
Laurel School District issued a statement as well advising against students sharing any of the material online.
“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,” the statement read. “The intent of this message is to alleviate those concerns and ensure all of our school community members that, once again, this a NON-CREDIBLE threat, and that school safety is our foremost priority.”
Sussex Academy decided to excuse students for the day if parents choose to keep them home.
“If for any reason you are uncomfortable sending your child to school tomorrow and choose to start the winter break a day earlier, the absence will be excused,” Sussex Academy stated. “However, it is to be reiterated that there have been no specific threats made to Sussex Academy.”
Erin Chronister, whose daughter attends Sussex Academy, says despite the threats being unsubstantiated she, like many other parents, did not feel comfortable sending her child to school Friday.
“I know schools were saying that it was unfounded and that they communicated with the Delaware State Police, but things do happen, who’s to say that at the last minute somebody wouldn’t decide ‘I’m going to do this,'” Chronister said. “I just felt like, if I sent her, and something did happen, then I don’t think I could live with that.”
The viral video challenges students to call schools with threats of violent actions, such as bomb threats and school shooting threats.