SPD stressing No Credibility to TikTok threats of violence in schools (Updated)

The Southborough Police Department asked me to share a statement about an issue that had many parents concerned:

Southborough Police have been in touch with the Northborough/Southborough Superintendent of Schools and the Northborough Police Department, regarding the national social media trend (mainly on the social media app “TikTok”), in which there have been general threats made about school violence happening in schools tomorrow. We want to stress that there is NO CREDIBILITY to these threats, and that the law enforcement community believes that these threats were made in order to instill fear and anxiety within the school community. Southborough Police plan on conducting extra patrols at the schools throughout the day tomorrow; staying outside and available in the case of any emergencies. As always, if anyone becomes aware of any information that may be concerning- please report it. Thank you.

The national media trend follows other recent social media posts that were recently investigated related to Algonquin. In each of those cases, the administration assured that the Northborough Police found no credible threat.

Late last night, Superintendent Martineau followed up with more information in a message to families:

Good Evening,

I apologize for the late communication; however, I thought it was important. Given the number of questions I have received about the email I sent to families at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2021, I want to provide additional information.

Was there a specific threat to the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough?
No, the social media posts are part of a national social media trend and did not originate in our District.

If there are no specific threats to our District, why did you communicate to families?
The initial thought was to not give any additional airtime to the national trend as the posts did not come from our community, nor do we believe the threats to be credible; however, in consultation with NPD and SPD, I decided it was important for our community to know that the District is indeed aware of the news and that it is not being ignored. Even if they are not credible threats, I acknowledge that they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff.

What is the District doing to keep students safe?
An overview of the District’s safety practices is available here: Overview of School Safety.

Is this just an issue for our District?
No, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has been in touch with the State Police, who are working with the FBI to monitor the situation. The State Police have alerted local police departments across Massachusetts?

Will there be additional police presence throughout the District tomorrow?
Yes, the NPS and SPD will be patrolling schools tomorrow out of an abundance of caution.

What if I have a concern?
If you hear of any concerning information, Please reach out to your child’s building principal or me.

Respectfully,
Greg Martineau

Original Email Sent to Families at 4:00 PM:

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough is aware of rumors/threats circulating on social media, specifically TikTok, regarding December 17th as “National Shoot Up Your School Day,” threatening shootings, bomb threats, and other violent acts. The Northborough and Southborough Police Departments are also aware of this social media activity. Lastly, building principals have been briefed on the rumors/threats circulating and will monitor the situation closely. Ensuring that The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough is a safe place for our students and staff remains a top priority.

Respectfully,
Gregory L. Martineau

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