A 12-year-old New Jersey child is now facing charges after allegedly directing threats toward a high school from “a variety of social media accounts,” police say.
The development comes after at least a dozen students around the U.S. were arrested late last week in connection to similar threat rumors posted on TikTok and other social media apps as part of a viral social media craze.
“On December 15th and throughout the evening hours, the Maple Shade Police Department received a number of reports from concerned parents who believed there were threats being made against the Maple Shade High School community by unknown actors,” police in the town outside of Philadelphia said in a statement. “In addition, Administrators for the Maple Shade School District were also receiving similar complaints from students, parents and staff and they in turn alerted this agency.”
The threats allegedly were directed toward the Maple Shade High School community in New Jersey. (Google Maps)
“Through the diligent work of our investigative team, the Maple Shade Police Department was able to identify a 12-year-old juvenile as being responsible for a portion of the threats found on some of these social media accounts,” the statement added.
The juvenile – who is not being identified because they are a minor – has been charged with terroristic threats, false public alarms and cyber harassment.
“It is apparent that this is not just a Maple Shade issue, but an issue that is affecting many towns in New Jersey and many states throughout our country,” the Maple Shade Police Department said, alluding to the situations unfolding elsewhere.
“Lastly, we ask that each of our parents and/or guardians please take a moment to discuss the appropriate use of social media with your children,” it also said.
Similar threats directed towards schools were circulating last week on the social media app TikTok, according to reports. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Last Thursday, students across the country made unverified threats to schools on social media apps including TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, prompting schools and other local officials to take action.
Heightened precautions taken amid threat rumors led to a number of student arrests on Thursday in Miramar, Florida; Palm Coast, Florida; Frederick, Maryland; Naugatuck, Connecticut; Watsonville, California; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Wyoming, Ohio; and others, according to local police departments.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.