NYC parents blast Education Dept. for late school shooting threat on TikTok

New York City parents vented anger and frustration at the Department of Education after officials failed to warn them earlier about a school shooting threat made on the TikTok social media and video platform.

The New York Post reported that parents steamed about having no time to think about keeping their children home from school on Friday.

According to the Education Dept., New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter sent a message to NYC principals regarding the unspecified threats around 11 p.m. on Thursday. Administrators were supposed to relay warnings to parents and most did, but the vast majority of parents did not learn about the threat until Friday morning after they had already sent their children off to class.

Community Education Council 30 member Deborah Alexander told The Post that parents in her district in Queens said they were not warned quickly enough to keep their kids home in response to the worrisome TikTok posts. She also said that news of the threats made the rounds on social media much earlier on Thursday.

“It would have been nice for the DOE to send something out a lot earlier so parents actually had some time to make a decision,” she said, adding that most did not hear from their kids’ respective schools until Friday morning after many had already dropped them off.

“I think a lot of parents would have preferred to have that option,” she said of the “Shoot Up Your School Day” challenge. “Making that decision while you are getting ready for work in the morning is a problem.”

The councilwoman added that a Long Island City school — the New York Institute for Collaborative Education — went on lockdown for an hour on Friday due to a threat that had been called in.

Meanwhile, The Post noted, a parent of a high schooler in Brooklyn reported getting a message regarding the threat around 7 a.m. Friday.

“If this was going around the day before, we should have been told much earlier,” she said. “As if there isn’t enough to worry about right now.”

DOE officials, meanwhile, told The Post they acted as quickly as possible considering the threats were unspecified and no one had discovered a direct link to New York City schools.

“We sent letters regarding general and non-specific threats circulating on social media to schools as soon as we had credible information,” department spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said, according to The Post. “This was a general threat circulating nationwide, not specific to NYC, and schools passed on that information to families in a timely manner without delay.”

Despite the vague, non-specific nature of the threat, the Department of Homeland Security warned schools on Friday to remain vigilant.

“DHS is aware of public reporting that suggests possible threats to schools on December 17, 2021,” DHS noted in a Friday morning tweet. “DHS does not have any information indicating any specific, credible threats to schools but recommends communities remain alert.”

In NYC specifically, NYPD officials said Thursday they were aware of “posts circulating on TikTok concerning a potential school shooting on Friday,” but there was “no credible information to suggest this threat is specific to any school in New York City.”

Jon Dougherty


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