standing Stonington High School

STONINGTON — Connecticut State Police and other law enforcement partners are monitoring a series of social media posts indicating threats to various public schools today, but an investigation has found no credible evidence of active threats.

In a press release on Thursday, state police and the state Department of Emergency Services issued an alert acknowledging that they had been made aware “of hoax posts circulating on social media” and said analysis and monitoring through the Connecticut Intelligence Center has allowed officials to follow the social media trend. The center has not yet identified any specific or credible threats to any Connecticut schools, state police said.

“These posts and rumors started on the social media platform TikTok and have been circulating for at least several days across the country, making their way onto additional social media platforms,” Connecticut State Police said in a press release Thursday. “Many law enforcement agencies around the country have received tips related to these rumors. It is possible that the threats originated from a TikTok challenge to skip school on Friday.”

Stonington Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne Butler said in an email that the district was notified of the social media trend and concerns through an all-district communication from the state Department of Education on Thursday afternoon.

There have been no credible threats reported in Stonington, Butler said in the correspondence, which was sent to all parents, but due to concerns and with safety as a priority, the district has partnered with the Stonington Police Department to have an increased police presence at the town’s schools. The district will also continue to use policies and guidelines that are in place at schools to help prevent attacks and address threats, school and police officials said.

The district and police have practiced repeatedly in recent years to be prepared for a worst case scenario, including providing walk-throughs of the school for officers and hosting closed-circuit, recorded training sessions for a variety of high-stress emergency responses.

Although there is no credible threat, both police and school officials said the district is prepared and will do everything it can to maintain the safety of students and staff. They encouraged parents to talk with their children about the issue, the consequences of making such threats and consider actions to monitor their children’s use of social media.

“The district will continue to work collaboratively with families and law enforcement to minimize the disruption to our schools as a result of these types of social media challenges,” Butler said in the email. “Please encourage your child to immediately report any information specific to this challenge or any other threat to the school to a trusted adult and to avoid reposting or promoting information related to this challenge or other similar social media posts."

“It is critical for the entire community to work together to stop this kind of social media messaging,” she said.

If there are any threats made, both state and local police said it will not come without consequences for those involved.

State police said any threat made involving a school will be taken very seriously in accordance with the law, and even if a threat is determined to be a hoax, there will be a thorough investigation and arrests will be made.

“This could also lead to further consequences within the school district,” state police said.

Officials said the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and Connecticut Intelligence Center are working closely with the state Department of Education, providing timely information to all school districts as needed.

“As always, parents should monitor their children’s phones and social media to ensure positive and healthy behaviors,” state police said.

Parents are encouraged to utilize monitoring apps such as Bark - Parental Controls to ensure positive behaviors and to consume as much information they can about the apps their children are using. Officials said Common Sense Media is also a great resource to obtain information on the latest apps, games and more.

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