Hemingway STEAM School

Superintendent Jim Foudy reported “an underpinning of caution” at the Ernest Hemingway STEAM School Friday morning.

Public schools throughout the Blaine County are seeing increased police presence today, Dec. 17, as the district responds to a national threat that circulated on TikTok this week. 

Officers were placed at every school in the Blaine County School District Friday morning, according to the sergeant on duty for Blaine County Sheriff's Office. As of 11 a.m., the BCSO had not reported any incidents at school buildings, he said.

Police haven't identified any local threats, according to BCSD Superintendent Jim Foudy. But Foudy said he met with Hailey Police Chief Steve England and BCSO Chief Deputy Will Freuhling on Thursday, deciding to station additional officers throughout the public school system anyway.

"We're taking nothing for granted," Foudy said.

Earlier this week, a post making the rounds on the social media app TikTok expressed a vague but wide-ranging threat to schools nationwide, across all grade levels. In it, an anonymous user said there will "most likely" be a school shooting or bomb threat "for every school in the USA" on Dec. 17. Schools across the country increased security in response, according to the Associated Press, with some districts closing buildings altogether.

On Friday, Foudy said that the BCSD was working closely with social workers and counselors to emphasize mental health in local schools, and that he trusted staff to identify and work with kids who may need help.

Still, he voiced frustration that this level of nationwide alert was required.

"We need some national legislation that criminalizes this behavior," he said. "Posting something like that—something that incites violence—is absolutely unconscionable. The laws need to catch up with technology. Every school district in the country was affected by this today."

Friday is the last day before winter break for local public schools—a day typically buoyed by holiday celebrations. This year, though, Foudy reported an "underpinning of caution" in school buildings.

"We're proud of the students who brought this to our attention," he said. "Keeping communication open is important for all our health and welfare. That's how we're going to operate in this climate. Sunshine is our best friend."