BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A school threat hoax circulating on social media across the nation prompted Brevard Public Schools to issue a statement to concerned parents Thursday, according to a BPS spokesman.
“The school district, each BPS school and law enforcement are aware of warnings trending on social media regarding threats of violence on Friday, December 17th. There is no evidence that there is any credibility to the social media posts,” the statement said, according to News 6 partner Florida Today. “We expect Friday to be a normal school day and students should be in attendance.”
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A spokesman for the school district said the false threat of school violence, which did not specifically reference Brevard schools, had been making the rounds in multiple states on TikTok and other social media platforms.
“This is an issue we’re seeing across school districts,” BPS spokesman Russel Bruhn said Thursday. “There’s no actual threat to Brevard schools.”
The hoax seems to have originated as a TikTok “challenge,” in which students pass on the threat as a prank, Bruhn said.
“We sometimes get hoaxes and jokes, and sometimes legitimate threats. We take it all very seriously,” he said.
The statement urged parents to talk with their students about the seriousness of social media threats, harmless or otherwise.
“They are NEVER a ‘joke’ and they will not be treated lightly under any circumstances. Any threat made will be investigated to the fullest extent and serious consequences will follow,” the statement said. “Please help your children understand that some of these consequences carry life-long repercussions.”
The hoax prompted similar statements from school districts in Maryland, Arizona, Wisconsin, among other states, and from multiple school districts across Florida.
TikTok has previously caused trouble in Brevard schools. In September, a series of thefts from schools appeared to stem from a social media challenge in which students filmed themselves stealing items, especially from bathrooms, to post on social media. Some schools warned parents and forbade cell phones and backpacks from bathrooms.
FLORIDA TODAY education reporter Bailey Gallion contributed to this report.