DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– A threat to school safety across the United States including here in the Miami Valley has put schools on high alert. The social media TikTok challenge is called “National Shoot Up Your School Day” and encourages students to make threats of violence against their school.

University of Dayton Law Professor Tom Hagel says social media has created a whole new challenge in detecting where sources of threats come from after receiving national attention. No matter what, he says people are free to share their thoughts on the subject but  it’s always better to not engage online.

“Well if someone for example makes a threat and then somebody else passes it on, arguably they could be in trouble,” said Professor Hagel.

Hagel says there is a fine line between discussing the threat online and then reading comments about someone promising to perform a violent act and not reporting it. A social media threat that’s garnered national attention can prove to be difficult to track its source, but if violent acts are performed, students who shared or encouraged the act without reporting it could face legal troubles.

“That might be unlawful, it’s against the law to incite panic or send out a false alarm or for that matter make terrorist threats,” said Prfessor Hagel.

Several schools across the Miami Valley say there will be an increase in police presence on December 17th due to the national threat. Professor Hagel advises parents to talk with their children, especially those who are not monitored online and could be passing dangerous posts.

“If they do receive a message that would be considered a threat, I strongly hope that they pass it onto law enforcement to stop it before anything bad can happen,” said Professor Hagel.

Dayton Police say they are aware of the threat and are working with local and state partners. They encourage any student or parent to contact them immediately if they see threats online.