US schools face bomb threats after online targeting by Libs of TikTok

An NYPD police car next to a group of children heading to school.

A new investigation has shown how schools across the US have faced bomb threats just days after being targeted by Libs of TikTok.

At least 11 schools or school districts that had been featured in anti-LGBTQ+ posts on social media were found to have received bomb threats less than a week after being targeted by the right-wing online group.

The account, headed by Chaya Raichik, is one of the most notorious conspiratorial accounts on social media platforms, and has a central role in pushing the “groomer” conspiracy against LGBTQ+ people.

Vice reported that it had contacted 42 school districts, schools, colleges and businesses mentioned by Libs Of TikTok last month.

At least 14 responded, with just three saying they hadn’t received bomb threats. The remaining 11 are reported to have received bomb threats within days of being featured in Libs of TikTok posts.

One of them, Red Oak Elelmentary School, in Chicago, was targeted by Libs of TikTok in a post on 15 September and received three bomb threats over the course of four days.

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Children were reportedly evacuated from the school following the first two threats.

Another, in Oklahoma City’s Western Heights school district, received a bomb threat on 15 September after being featured in three Libs Of TikTok posts between 9 and 14 September.

During that time, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of education, Ryan Walters, posted a photo of himself with Raichik, praising her for doing “more for transparency and accountability in schools than most elected office-holders”.

The bomb threats coincide with a general rise in hoaxes across the US. Threats against schools rose by 60 per cent in 2022, according to statistics from the FBI.

‘Everything was so out of control’

Vice also reported a number of examples of intense online harassment against school staff. A Pittsburgh school bus drive, only identified as Erika, said she had become the victim of abuse after a comment she made on Facebook, about a set of LGBTQ+ stickers she’d put on her vehicle, was shared with Libs Of TikTok.

Erika told Vice she received a number of comments accusing her of being a “groomer”, and even a hand-written birthday card claiming she was “recruiting minors on the job, after a post was made claiming she wanted to cover a school bus “with trans propaganda”.

She went on to say: “The fact that anyone would think that I would do something that would harm a child or someone who’s marginalised really makes me mad. It could not be further from the truth.

“It was so upsetting. I felt like my head was spinning, everything was out of control.”

She was then told by her supervisor that the superintendent had received a number of complaints, prompting board members to request a search of her bus.

“There [are] sunflowers and butterflies on my bus. I have a few magnets that say ‘be kind’,” she continued. “I was never reprimanded. They said they’re behind me.

“They did ask that I not put any rainbow or allied supportive magnets on display.”

PinkNews has contacted Libs of TikTok for comment.

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