LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A disturbing new TikTok challenge is encouraging students to commit violent acts on school campuses, with there even being some threats posted in central Arkansas.
Several school districts, like Conway and Cabot, have received similar threats and as a result, police in the cities have increased their presence on campus.
"It's scary because of the recent shooting that just recently happened. It can happen," Elena Cervantes said.
Cervantes' daughter is a student at Cabot High School. Her day was cut short after she had to check-out of school early due to threats against the school.
"She sent me the picture of it from TikTok and she said, 'mom, did you know about this,'" she said. "I read it and it freaked me out. I'm like, 'no, I didn't know.'"
Cabot Public Schools addressed the incident through the following statement:
The district is aware of the recently posted nationwide TikTok video encouraging violent acts toward schools today. The now viral TikTok video did not identify any specific state or school district. The district has been made aware that there are now several Instagram postings being shared making threats specifically against Cabot High School. Local law enforcement will increase in and around our schools for the remainder of the day.
Sgt. Chris Reilly of the Cabot Police Department said they were made aware of the dangerous trend on Friday and that it's something they are taking very seriously.
"We don't know if it's a hoax or not, so we had to take everything like that seriously," he said.
Reilly added that when threats are made, even if they turn out to be false, it could lead to legal trouble.
The threats also exhaust and wastes resources at the department.
"To prove that it's a hoax, a lot of hours are put in to try to figure out where those threats are coming from," he said.
The threats aren't being taken lightly by parents either, even if it's proven to be a hoax. Parents like Cervantes are happy that her daughter is home safe, but still feel a sense of concern over dangerous social media trends such as this one.
"I hope it doesn't ever happen again, but there's that possibility," Cervantes said.
The threats have caught the attention of many around the state, including the FBI in Little Rock who released the following statement:
The FBI takes all potential threats seriously. We regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats. As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.