Parents and local law enforcement respond to TikTok school threats

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — On Thursday, news of a vague TikTok challenge encouraging violence at schools began to surge, prompting widespread closures and increased police presence at schools across the nation on Friday. Here in Kern County, schools were open but parents and law enforcement where on high-alert.

“I was at work and I got a phone call, I always answer when it says Bakersfield High School,” Liz Polin, a parent of two students at Bakersfield High School, said. “I got scared cause now a days you can’t trust anything anyone does anymore so it’s pretty scary.”

Bakersfield Police Sergeant Robert Pair said even though the threats against local schools didn’t seem to be credible and schools were safe today, the global nature of social media complicates the issue.

“When it becomes problematic is like, with this recent threat, where it has not originated even in the state of California,” Pair said. “It is something that has traveled hundreds of times, went viral, is trending and now it affects the whole country.”

Schools right here in Kern have been dealing with what officials say is an uptick in incidents. Over the last few weeks, a West High student was arrested for possession of a gun, a minor was shot outside two local schools and Liberty High faced what seemed like a gun threat.

Pair says his department works closely with schools to investigate threats. “You try to establish the who, what, where, why and how,” he said.

The first step, he said, is getting in contact with the person making the threat. And overall, Pair emphasized the important role parents play in keeping their kids safe.

“Knowing your child’s footprint on social media is fundamental in this day of age.”

If you see something, don’t hesitate to report it.

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