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Pittsburgh-Area Schools Increasing Security Over TikTok Challenge Threatening Violence

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A nationwide TikTok challenge threatening violence at schools has caught the eye of local school districts and law enforcement.

Mount Lebanon, North Hills, Norwin, Seneca Valley, Charleroi Area, Plum Borough, Greater Latrobe and Canon-McMillan school districts, plus schools in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, sent messages to parents on Thursday. They alerted parents about the TikTok challenge that allegedly encourages shooting threats, bomb threats and violence "for every school in the U.S.A., even elementary" on Friday.

Many school district leaders informed parents that they do not believe the threat is credible, but they are still taking the situation seriously.

"It's concerning. I think with this school, in particular, I think they do a great job alleviating any of those kinds of concerns, really just kind of letting the parents know what's going on and things like that," said Frank Moore, a parent who has a child in Mount Lebanon High School.

Parents and students can expect to see increased security measures at many schools in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Mount Lebanon School District announcement said, in part, "While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously. We may have an increased police presence in and around our buildings on Friday as an added precaution."

Pennsylvania State Police said federal, state and municipal law enforcement agencies are aware of the trend. State police wrote, in part, "the messages warn of the existence of such threats but do not contain specific threats, schools, actors, or locations. There are currently no known credible threats to schools in Pennsylvania."

School leaders from most districts are suggesting parents talk to their kids about social media use.

North Hill School District wrote to families, "social media, however, is a powerful tool and can be used to influence others. Parents/guardians are encouraged to talk to their child(ren) about the pressures of social media and the potential consequences of engaging in threatening or violent behavior."

"If you see something, say something. If you have any concerns, let people know, let the school know, let us know, just make sure we're all on the same page," Moore said.

Parents of students in all Catholic schools in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh were made aware of the TikTok challenge on Thursday night. Director Michelle Peduto wrote in the e-mail, "As always, we will act immediately we have any indication of an unsafe situation in our schools."

State police encourage parents, students and school officials to remain vigilant and report all suspicious behavior. If it's an emergency call 911. Threats and suspicious behavior involving schools should be reported to the Safe2Say at (844)-723-2729 or here.

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