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'New digital warfare': Kentucky students charged with making terroristic threats in alarming TikTok challenge
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'New digital warfare': Kentucky students charged with making terroristic threats in alarming TikTok challenge

Three Kentucky high school students were charged with making terroristic threats. The teens allegedly made the threats as part of an alarming TikTok challenge .

Two Oldham County high school students, aged 15, were charged with terroristic threatening in the second degree, police said. Another 15-year-old was charged with terroristic threatening in the third degree, according to CBS News .

The names of the students were not released because they are minors. The students attend Oldham County High School and South Oldham High School.

In mid-August, the three students allegedly recorded videos of themselves telling teachers that there was a bomb or a gun in their backpack as a "joke," according to police. The bomb threats turned out to be a hoax . The supposed prank is part of a concerning TikTok challenge .

The Oldham County school district reportedly suspended the three students, and the teens must complete a mental health screening before returning to school.

"We are going to take every single threat seriously because our students deserve to go to a school that's safe," said Eric Davis – the director of student services for Oldham County Schools.

The Oldham County school district sent out a letter warning parents about the disturbing TikTok challenge.

"As previously communicated in a letter to families regarding terroristic threatening, students who participate in this type of behavior face serious consequences," the letter read, according to WDRB . "In addition to school-level discipline, students are prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law for making a threat to a public school."

"Whether written or spoken, all threats are taken seriously, and students need to know the repercussions of these actions, both short and long-term," the letter continued. "Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress or anxiety for our students, families, and staff."

TikTok removed the terroristic videos at the school district's request.

The school district urged parents to monitor their children's social media accounts and notify authorities if they see anyone making terroristic threats, even if they are part of the social media challenge .

Dr. Karen Freberg – a professor of strategic communications at the University of Louisville – called the worrisome social media trend a "new digital warfare."

"It's kind of the new digital warfare – in many ways – that we're kind of seeing being played out in various circles," Freberg told WDRB.

"Parents need to be a partner with their kids to educate, to learn, and to have these open discussions about the risks and dangerous sides of these kinds of trends," she added.

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