By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  The Miami-Dade and Broward County school districts, along with local law enforcement, are on high alert amid a nationwide TikTok trend threatening violence against schools.

Broward and Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced Thursday night that they were increasing law enforcement presence across their respective districts after a TikTok video circulating nationally threatens violence on Friday.

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BCPS first announced the precautionary move, stating the “threat did not originate locally and is not believed to be credible.”

“District administrators and staff will also have increased vigilance,” BCPS wrote in a statement. “Ensuring the safety of our students and staff are our highest priorities.”

M-DCPS said the Miami-Dade Police Department is monitoring the situation and there will be an increased law enforcement presence on Friday as well.

(Source: Miami-Dade County Public Schools)

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he was extremely concerned by the TikTok video circulating nationwide threatening violence.

“This is unacceptable. There is a lack of supervision of young people with a presence on social media and corporate entities involved with TikTok. How this can continue baffles me,” he said. “Children do not have a right to privacy when it comes to this and I’m calling on parents to do more to monitor their social media activity. I must stress that all of these threats that we have received have been hoaxes and the penalties for them can be severe.”

“I am urging parents to have conversations with their children about responsibility, particularly over social media sites. Kids have no right to privacy online. It is the parents’ responsibility to monitor these conversations. Also, the companies that make millions and millions of dollars in profit need to assume greater levels of responsibility over the monitoring of their own sites and platforms,” Carvalho told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.

“Even though the threats we have received are hoaxes, we have to take every own of the seriously. They are a drain on our resources and cause fear in the community and it is just unacceptable. We have a very good track record of identifying these threats and arresting the perpetrators and then collaborating with entities to fully prosecute these individuals,” said Carvalho.

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Rosa Perez, whose daughter attends 9th grade at the Doral Academy Preparatory School, said “I am worried because your children are supposed to be safe in school. I monitor my kid’s social activity and I know her password. You have to do it to be safe,”

Paola Jimenez, the mother of two children, said “I think this is out of control because social media is a big thing right now. Kids this age believe everything they see.”

Ninth-grader Susan Fanjul said she saw the TikTok video and said “They are like saying oh-ph, who’s going to shoot up the school with me. I am worried because kids might listen to that and try something.”

As her mother listened outside the school, Susan’s sister shared the same sentiments.
Marian Salom, who is in 6th grade, said “I am worried about the threat on TikTok because you don’t know what will happen, whether it is real or not.”

In recent weeks, there have been several South Florida students arrested for making school threats on social media.

On Thursday, a 13-year-old girl was arrested for making social media threats against nearly a dozen schools in Miami-Dade. She is charged with 10 counts of written threat to kill/do bodily harm.

The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department has investigated more than 40 threats since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year and has made more than half a dozen arrests. Half of those incidents have taken place within the last few weeks.

Threatening to kill someone on social media is a second-degree felony. If convicted, the poster could face serious jail time.

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It is a 2nd-degree felony and if someone is charged as an adult and is convicted, it can mean a sentence of up to 15 years behind bars.

Peter D'Oench