McHenry County-area schools respond to TikTok video threatening schools nationwide

Post not directed at any specific school, but Algonquin-based District 300 is upping security measures, superintendent says

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 filer, a logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen, in Tokyo

A TikTok post threatening schools nationwide with violence led Algonquin-based Community School District 300 and other suburban school districts to increase their security measures Friday.

The post was not directed at any specific school, District 300 Superintendent Susan Harkin said in a message posted to the district’s website. It included language stating “school shootings and bomb threats for every school in the USA, even elementary” on Friday, she said.

The Illinois State Police said several states have reported this threat circulating across their school districts.

“At this time, the [Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center] currently has no information concerning any threats or attacks planned at Illinois schools,” Harkin said.

Woodstock School District 200 and Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 also notified parents Thursday that they were aware of the threat.

“The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority,” District 200 said in the email. “We have briefed our staff and administration and are in constant contact with our school resource officers and the Woodstock Police Department.”

District 47 also shared the post with the local police department and said it was reaching out to families “out of an abundance of caution and as a precautionary measure.”

“The safety of our students and staff is our priority,” the district said. “All safety concerns to our school or students are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Since returning to in-person learning this school year, schools nationwide are dealing with school safety concerns that seem to be heightened and causing anxiety, fear and nervousness among our staff and students.”

School districts across the country, including District 300, Harkin said, have experienced more social media threats since the beginning of the school year.

Just last week a series of threats targeting several McHenry County schools led to students being arrested.

A Woodstock High School student was arrested Monday on a felony disorderly conduct charge for allegedly writing a threat involving gun violence on a school bathroom stall last week. A Woodstock North High School student was arrested last week after Superintendent Mike Moan said in a letter to families that the student brought a look-alike weapon to school, and a 15-year-old Marengo High School student was charged in connection with a threat made on social media.

Threats involving two Woodstock middle schools were deemed not credible, Woodstock police said in a Facebook post.

Another incident at Alden-Hebron Middle School and High School on Dec. 3 involved a student allegedly bringing an airsoft gun to school, Alden-Hebron School District 19 Superintendent Tiffany Elswick said in an email to parents. It was not fired or used to threaten anyone.

The districts recommended reporting any concerning messages or threats to the school, district or police department.

District 47 pointed to Safe2Help Illinois, a 24/7 program that allows students to share school safety issues. At District 300, parents, students or staff who see a social media threat can email their school’s principal, and community members can email the district at

If possible, Harkin said, those who do see a threat should attach a screenshot of it to the email.

“The district has developed these processes to ensure the appropriate staff receives urgent information to enact our investigation immediately,” Harkin said. “Emailing anyone other than a building principal or the Safe School Tipline could prevent an urgent safety message from being routed promptly to the appropriate response team.”