Philomath School District building
Philomath School District (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath Superintendent of Schools Susan Halliday informed families and students of a disturbing TikTok challenge that has districts across the country taking heightened precautions.

“The challenge asks for individuals to call in bomb, school shooting or other threats of violence at schools across the United States,” Halliday said. “The Philomath Police Department and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office are aware of this circulating challenge. At this time, no threats have been received at any of our schools.”

TikTok is a video-focused social networking service. The “challenge” is especially disturbing after the school shooting that occurred just a few weeks ago in Michigan.

“Earlier this month, an indictment was returned charging an individual with calling in hoax bomb threats to three Oregon schools,” Halliday said. “Each incident is assumed to be real until proven otherwise.”

Halliday asked families to talk to their students about the gravity of such threats as well as the potential consequences. Those that hear of threats are asked to contact the school district (541-929-3169), Philomath Police (541-929-6911), Benton County Sheriff’s Office (541-766-6858) or Safe Oregon Hotline (844-472-3367 or tip@safeoregon.com).

“The district is obligated to take every threat seriously,” Halliday said. “It is our commitment to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. Any involved students face the possibility of suspension, expulsion and/or possible legal consequences for such threats.”

Halliday thanks students and community members for making the district aware of the TikTok challenge and added, “We are hopeful that we will have no such threats made to any of our schools.”