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Unconfirmed threats on TikTok force schools across the country to cancel classes

Microsoft is in talks to buy social media app TikTok
Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 17, 2021

(WXYZ) — Schools across the country are canceling classes and increasing security due to unconfirmed online threats that have been found on the popular app TikTok.

A threat circulating on the app is declaring Friday as "American school shooting day."

This is impacting school districts from coast to coast including right here in Metro Detroit.

Plymouth and Canton schools are virtual this week after a threat last week, as is Garden City following a threat on Wednesday.

Michigan State Police is aware of the TikTok post, but can't confirm any credible threats.

Nonetheless, law enforcement and prosecutors have made it very clear to students that if they make a threat, they will be charged and sent to jail.

Nearly 87 kids in total from Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties have already been charged and these charges can have long-term impacts.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says they have had 135 threats against different school districts in Oakland County and he has made it clear that they will investigate 100 percent of the threats.

"If it is not credible we still continue the investigation and seek criminal prosecution because the mere threat is a crime. It's up to a 20-year crime in our state," he said.

The post on TikTok was vague and anonymous warning multiple schools would receive shooting and bomb threats.

Tiktok released a statement on Twitter saying: "We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we're working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok."

Jennifer Sibel, the director of Growth Works, a care management organization that works with juvenile offenders in programs at home, or in the residential facilities they're eventually placed in, says these cases and convictions have and can last months and even years later.

Earlier this month the former U.S. Attorney for Michigan's Eastern district says that a 20-year sentence is unlikely most of the time.

"But if we have more awareness and if the students are knowledgeable about what those consequences are whether that's jail time or academic consequences or losing your scholarship, that's really where we should be heading," former U.S. Attorney for Michigan's Eastern District Matthew Schneider said.