Tuesday, August 16, 2022

UPDATE: Local School Officials Address Nationwide Dec. 17 Threat on Social Media

Local officials are speaking out about a social media trend that threatens schools across the country with violence on Dec. 17. (WYDaily Media)
UPDATE (Dec. 16, 2021, 5:11 p.m.): The FBI Norfolk Field Office has provided a statement regarding these threats. WYDaily has updated this story to reflect this new information.
** Indicates this update in this story.
UPDATE (Dec. 16, 2021, 4:09 p.m.): Williamsburg-James City County Schools has released statement. This story has been updated to include that information.
* indicates updated information.

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — York County School Division (YCSD) and *Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools have released statements concerning nationwide threats made on the social media channel TikTok urging violence to take place in schools this Friday (Dec. 17).

In a statement that went out to staff and families within YCSD, Superintendent Victor D. Shandor said that the school division and the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Department (YPSO) will take action regarding any posts or comments that threaten YCSD schools, students, and staff.

“The division has extensive safety and security procedures in place in all our schools on a daily basis,” the statement read. “You may notice an increased presence from YPSO on and around campuses tomorrow. Additionally, staff members will be available to speak with students throughout the day if needed.”

The statement also specified that YCSD and YPSO were planning a community conversation on how York County can further address these issues. This is slated to take place some time in January with more information scheduled to be released after the division’s winter break.

Shandor’s letter can be found on the YCSD Facebook page.

*WJCC Schools has also been made aware of the post made to the social media platform TikTok. 

An online post published to WJCC’s website stated, “The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend and did not originate in our school division. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation, and classes will continue as normal tomorrow, Dec. 17, 2021.”

WJCC says that parents and students, “may see increased law enforcement visibility in the vicinity of our schools on Friday.”

The school district asks parents and students that if they become aware of any potential threat posted on social media or other places, to notify a school staff member.

The TikTok trend comes after two incidents in the past two weeks when a YCSD students were arrested for making threats towards schools.

On Weds., Dec. 8, three Grafton High School students were taken into custody after a concerned parent shared with YPSO threatening comments made in a text chain. Then yesterday (Dec. 16), a Bruton High School student was arrested after social media posts caused alarm.

**Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Norfolk Field Office Public Affairs Officer Christina Pullen released the following statement to WYDaily:

“The FBI takes all potential threats seriously. We regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats. As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”

WYDaily has reached out to James City County Police Department, and City of Williamsburg Police Department for comment but has not received a response as of the publication of this story.

WYDaily will continue to keep you up-to-date on this developing story as more information becomes available.

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