UPDATE: State police, FBI ‘monitoring the situation’ after cluster of school threats, superintendent says

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A Shrewsbury Police Department squad car sits in front of Shrewsbury High School Dec. 17. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to note that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been in touch with the State Police, which in turn, are working with the FBI to “monitor the situation,” according to Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough Superintendent Gregory Martineau.

REGION – Local school districts and police departments are on high alert following what Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early’s office is calling “a viral social media trend” that presented “warnings about a threat to schools,” Dec. 17.

“While the posts are alarming, they appear to be part of a national trend and not specific to any school districts,” Early’s office wrote on Facebook.

In an email to parents, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough Superintendent Greg Martineau said the district was aware of “rumors/threats circulating on social media, specifically TikTok, regarding December 17th as ‘National Shoot Up Your School Day,’ threatening shootings, bomb threats, an other violent acts.”

According to Martineau, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been in touch with the State Police. The State Police are working with the FBI to “monitor the situation,” he said.

He said Northborough and Southborough police are aware of the social media activity. Principals were briefed and will be monitoring the situation closely, he said.

“Ensuring that the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough is a safe place for our students and staff remains a top priority,” Martineau said.

Several local police departments also weighed in Thursday, saying there would be a police presence at the schools the following day. Southborough police specifically said they would be conducting extra patrols throughout the day.

However, there were no specific threats to any area schools, police reiterated in their various statements.  

“The Shrewsbury Police Department takes every threat seriously and will handle them accordingly,” Shrewsbury police wrote. “Keeping our students and faculty safe will remain our top priority tomorrow and every day.” 

Shrewsbury Superintendent Joseph Sawyer penned a separate statement shared by Shrewsbury police. He wrote that some Shrewsbury students have seen the posts and “have expressed concern about attending school.”

“You may have seen news about a social media trend, mainly on TikTok, where there are general threats made about school violence tomorrow,” Sawyer said. “These general threats have been posted across the U.S. and some apparent copycat posts have been made regarding specific schools.”

He also said that there haven’t been any specific threats regarding any Shrewsbury schools and said that the schools have been in communication with the Shrewsbury Police Department.

Sawyer said the posts “seek to instill fear and anxiety” and aren’t credible.

“I am confident in the safety and security of our schools, and I ask that parents reassure their children if they are concerned,” Sawyer said. “I am truly sorry that this social media issue has caused concern for some of our students, and I hope the information that authorities have identified this as a non-specific national social media trend that is not credible is helpful to you.” 

In Marlborough, officers encouraged students and community members to report anything that they found to be suspicious or potentially dangerous. 

“As a community, we must work together to ensure the safety of all members, and we remind everyone that ‘if you see something, say something,’” Marlborough police said on Facebook.

This is an ongoing story. It will be updated with any additional information that becomes available…