PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Police Department released the following statement on Wednesday:
“Parents and Guardians,
“We have been made aware of a viral trend spreading across the nation regarding gun violence at schools. In this trend, students share images or post threats specifically targeting the date Friday, December 17.
“We have had multiple reports of students talking about or sharing threats of gun violence on social media. Although they are at different schools in the state, they all have similar language and are specific to December 17. This nationwide trend is believed to have originated on TikTok and has now gone viral, causing parents and students alike to question the validity of the threats. Law enforcement is involved, and each report has been taken seriously and investigated. Unfortunately, we believe the original trend was created so students could be excused from school and has turned into something more disturbing. If you know of any specific threats or witness any suspicious activity, please reach out to law enforcement, school administration, or an anonymous tip can be sent through the SafeUT app.
“We want to remind all students and parents to report when they see a threat; do not repost it. Reposting a threat serves no purpose other than adding to the fear and uncertainty of the situation.
“As a reminder, if a student is caught making a violent threat on social media or causing a disturbance in school, the student will be prosecuted and face charges.
“The Park City Police Department is aware of the situation and are actively investigating any threats or suspicious incidents in reference to this trend in the Park City School area. To report suspicious activity or concerns, you can reach the police department at 435-615-3600.”
“We are asking parents for your active participation in addressing this concern and keeping our schools safe every day. Please monitor your student’s social media activity. This incident is an unfortunate reminder that many young people struggle to use social media responsibly. This nationwide trend of increased threats of school violence can be harmful in many ways. Along with causing a significant disruption to instructional time during school, it can cause panic and stress for our students and their families as well as our employees. We respectfully request that you restrict access to it if you are unable to monitor your child’s cell phone and social media use. Schools and law enforcement are not able to monitor all student social media accounts. This is the responsibility of the parent or guardian.
“Our most reliable tool for school safety is our students, who contact a trusted adult when they see or hear about unsafe behavior or situations. Please remind your students that we need their help to keep our school and community safe. If they see something concerning on social media, they should not spread it by posting it on their own social media account. Instead, they should immediately inform an adult at the school. Students can anonymously report unsafe behavior using the SafeUT app or website or call the SafeUT hotline at 833-372-3388 or contact our school office to report concerns. In addition, our teachers and school administrators are always willing to talk privately with a student who needs to report something confidentially.
“Thank you for your patience and support as we work together to keep our students and employees safe.”