There is an extra police presence at schools in Lake and McHenry counties Friday following a nationwide threat of violence towards schools reportedly made on TikTok, authorities said.
Susan Harkin, Superintendent of District 300, which has schools in McHenry and Kane counties, sent a statement to parents providing information on the threat.
“District 300 has been made aware of a viral TikTok post threatening nationwide school violence. The post, which is not directed at any specific school, includes language stating, “school shootings and bomb threats for every school in the USA, even elementary,” on Friday, December 17th,” Harkin said.
The post was shared with school administrators and local law enforcement.
The Illinois State Police Department’s Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center (STIC) contacted school districts and law enforcement in Illinois and told them, “Several states have reported this threat has been circulating through their school districts. At this time, the STIC currently has no information concerning any threats or attacks planned at Illinois schools.”
Harkin said that school districts nationwide, including District 300, have experienced increased social media posts threatening school violence this year.
“For this specific viral TikTok threat, District 300 will continue monitoring social media for additional information and, as a precaution, will implement increased security measures for all District 300 schools on Friday, December 17th,” Harkin said.
Parents, students and community members are encouraged to report any threats or suspicious social media activity.
Barrington 220 School District said in a statement that they were also made aware of the national threat circulating on TikTok regarding gun violence in schools.
“Upon learning this information, district leaders contacted the Barrington Police Department. The Barrington Police Department has confirmed that these threats are unsubstantiated at this time and there is no viable threat to students or staff. No reports or posts have included Barrington 220 schools specifically,” the statement said.
“As a precautionary measure and to reassure students and staff, in addition to our School Resource Officer, we will have added police support over the next several days as part of our standard response procedures. As they are everyday, school social workers will also be available for students who may need support,” the statement added.
The Round Lake Beach Police Department said in a statement they do not believe the threat is credible, but they are “closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously.”
There will be an increased police presence at Round Lake area schools throughout the day, the department said.
The Woodstock Police Department, Libertyville Police Department and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office also said they were aware of the social media threat circulating.
“We remind everyone to make smart choices and be vigilant in protecting our children not just today or tomorrow, but everyday,” the Woodstock Police Department said.