A Long Island school was evacuated Monday afternoon after a threat was made against students and teachers, but it was all just an apparent prank inspired by TikTok, officials said.
Nassau County Police responded to Lawrence Road Middle School in Hempstead after a threat was phoned in around 1:30 p.m., police said. Officials said that someone had called the school, claiming to be held hostage by a gunman, and one of the teachers was described. Police and fire departments responded to the potentially dangerous call.
After placing students on lockdown, the school was searched by SWAT team members, including a classroom the caller said to be held in. After an extensive investigation, no evidence of an credible threats was found, said police. The students were dismissed without any injuries or further incidents.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said that the entire ordeal may have been a prank inspired by social media.
“We believe this is a TikTok-like event that’s going national. Currently in Georgia, there’s a similar event right now,” Ryder said.
Despite it potentially being a prank, parents were upset after they were unable to contact their children while the school was on lockdown.
“I’ve been calling the school, no one answers, no one calls me. Only reason I know is because my daughter called me,” said parent Renee Rogers.
A father, Estuardo Guerra, complained that “if my kid missed school one day I get 20 calls,” but was frustrated he didn’t get a single call or message amid a potential gun scare.