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‘No credible threat’ against schools

“It’s just super troubling"
Posted at 5:48 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 17:48:30-05

HAMBURG, NY (WKBW) — Schools across the country were threatened by a TikTok post appearing Thursday. The post allegedly stating there were planned school shootings to take place Friday.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years. It doesn't seem to be getting any better, in fact social media seems to make it worse,” remarked Michael Cornell, superintendent, Hamburg Central School District.

Michael Cornell, superintendent, Hamburg Central School District.

But reports say they were vague and anonymous and not directed to any one school.

TikTok also posted this message that it conducted an exhaustive search and the FBI and Department of Homeland Security confirmed there's “no credible threat.”

TikTok response to threats posted on its site.

Still, it was cause for concern for districts and school leaders every where.

Outside the Hamburg School District.

“It’s just super troubling to us that we even have to deal with threats of violence or deal with the possibility that someone might act on a threat to a school community,” responded Cornell.

The Hamburg superintendent, who also serves as president of the Erie Niagara School Superintendents Association, says his district decided to remain open Friday after conducting a "threat assessment” learning there was no direct threat to Hamburg schools.

Michael Cornell, superintendent, Hamburg Central School District.

“We found out very quickly that it was just a regurgitated post that had been forwarded probably who knows how many thousands of times from some original point, somewhere in the country or somewhere out of the country,” described Cornell.

Cornel says every school district has “well developed protocols” but there is no state guidance.

It's conducted district by district and districts also follow best practices suggested by the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct threat assessments.

“At the end of the day, every school superintendent needs to make the decision for his or her school district that fits the needs of that school district,” noted Cornell.

State Senator Patrick Gallivan.

“Any of the threats that come in, of course, have to be evaluated on that individual basis to determine if there is any credibility before anyone jumps to conclusions,” explained New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan.

Senator Gallivan says he has been a long time believer of school resource officers and that the state should provide funding so schools can hire more.

“They can have immediate access to an expert to somebody in law enforcement that is trusted by the students, that's part of the school community, trusted by the administrators, the parents and the family and work with everybody on a regular basis,” replied Gallivan.

School district's are required to have school safety plans in place. In Hamburg, Cornell says they practice eight lock-down drills a year.