Gilmer schools pass ‘December 17’ TikTok trend without incident

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GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – Since trends like the “Devious Lick” and “Slap your Teacher” spread, many new threats are seeing responses heightened against the possibility of school violence and destruction. Gilmer is not immune to this either as the “Devious Lick” saw full response from school administrators and law enforcement. Today also saw responses to a new trend from the social media platform.

While administrators like Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley reported “minimal issues” with the “Devious Lick” trend, responses still came to the threat during today’s December 17 trend. Labeled by other news reports as  “Shoot Up Your School Day,” the concept allegedly began as an encouragement to ditch class. However, threats grew and morphed into violence.

Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley

Dr. Ridley said the schools have worked closely with law enforcement over the years and on cases like this. He reported that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) provided the school with information on the subject.

Working with local law enforcement, officers were briefed on the situation. In a letter to parents earlier today, he said, “All GCSS schools have been notified and staff are on alert for suspicious or concerning activity. Our SROs are being briefed and prepared for any related issue.”

Late in the day, the school did receive a screenshot of a threat involving the school initials of several schools including one stating “GHS.” However, the initials of schools listed in the threat all centered in a location in Florida and no credible threat was raised in our county.

Ridley said their never was any information suggesting Gilmer County could be targeted, but the schools did respond seriously regardless. Ridley visited each campus today examining security and safety protocols and measures as well as walking the school grounds.

School were already scheduled for a two-hour early release on the district calendar for today.

Dr. Ridley answered questions about his service as superintendent and the rise in TikTok trends like this. He noted that technologies have been used in the past and threats have always been monitored. He said that TikTok has provide certain challenges. However, he praised law enforcement for staying educated and on top of both these technologies and their challenges as well as their communication and inclusion with the school system.

He went on to note that he has been encouraged by the students of Gilmer. He said, “At the end of the day, we got good kids. We got great kids.” He noted that the students are smart enough not to engage with trends and threats that are very serious and carry serious consequences that affect their entire lives.

Ridley went on to add, “That’s why we try to talk to parents, too. Because that is what it really comes down to. When parents are getting facetime with their children and able to talk to them about these sorts of issues, that often heads it off.”

With the school day completed and no reports of malicious behavior or violence, many in the community are sighing with relief. Still, others are just learning of the trend and potential threats. The school system is officially at holiday break as of today and will not return until January 5, 2022.

Dr. Ridley reiterated his thankfulness for the community during times like this saying, “We are very lucky to have the kids we have. We are very fortunate, and we are very fortunate to have the parents we have that are willing to talk to their kids. I encourage all parents to have these conversations with their children about what’s going on on social media. Even if it’s just around the dinner table, ask them, ‘What do you see out there?'”

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