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' ... the trend started on TikTok as a ‘national skip day’ and then got twisted ....'

-- Dr. Homan

UPDATED Dec. 10: Aware of vague threats having been made on social media against schools, Arlington’s superintendent said Thursday, Dec. 16, that there is no apparent danger locally. However, the community can “be reassured that we will be very vigilant.” 

Dr. Elizabeth Homan spoke during the regular meeting of the School Committee. She was referring to anonymous online messages on the popular Tik Tok social-media platform making reference to possible violence set for Dec. 17 within and against campuses nationwide. 

Patch reports Mass. nervousness Dec. 17 | Verge: U.S. impact

According to a Dec. 16 article in People magazine, and reported in other media, education officials throughout the country are being similarly active and cautious, even though no threats so far have been deemed credible. However, on-campus violence has been a tragic phenomenon in American public schools from time to time for more than two decades, with the most recent incident, Nov. 30 in Oxford, Mich., resulting in four deaths.

Homan told YourArlington late Thursday: “From what we understand, the trend started on TikTok as a ‘national skip day’ and then got twisted and transformed into skipping because of a threat of school violence.

“We do not believe there is a threat, both because the Arlington Police Department and the schools have not received any threats specific to Arlington schools, and the APD has not deemed this threat to be credible. 

“We are ensuring safety on all campuses with increased administrative presence throughout the schools and increased police patrols around our schools starting at 7a.m. and throughout the day tomorrow.”

She copied police Chief Julie Flaherty on her response. 

Dec. 17 incidents?

Asked Dec. 17 about any relevants events that day, Homan wrote: "We had no incidents linked to yesterday's threats on social media.

"We did have a small subset of families who opted to keep their children home from school. We hope in the future that families will feel assured that when we share that there is no credible threat to our schools, it is safe for students to come to school.

"We do not want students to miss school because of unsubstantiated and unspecific social media trends. If at any time we feel otherwise about student security and safety, we will inform the community and take different actions."

Dec. 3, 2021: Committee grapples with staffing issues -- old and new

This news summary by YourArlington freelancer Judith Pfeffer was published Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, and updated the same day to add two links and a statement from Homan. It was updated Dec. 20 and made into a separate report.