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Illinois elementary school faces bomb threats after far-right social media attention

A school in suburban Chicago has been subjected to three bomb threats after the social media account Libs of TikTok shared images of a pride flag in one of the school’s classrooms.

By Will Fritz - September 29, 2023
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A rainbow flag is raised in Daley Plaza, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Chicago, to mark beginning of Pride Month.
A rainbow flag is raised in Daley Plaza, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Chicago, to mark beginning of Pride Month. (Brian Rich/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

An elementary school in a Chicago suburb has been the target of three bomb threats since a far-right social media influencer posted images of a pride flag inside one of the school’s classrooms.

On Sept. 15, the account Libs of TikTok on X, formerly known as Twitter, posted an image of what appeared to be an LGBTQ+ pride flag in a classroom and tagged the X account of Red Oak School in Highland Park, Illinois.

The post read, “Why would an elementary school have a massive progress pride flag hanging above students’ heads all day?”

Libs of TikTok is an account on various platforms run by a woman called Chaya Raichik. It has a history of generating outrage LGBTQ+ rights, and particularly transgender rights. The account’s posts have led to threats of violence against teachers, doctors and others.

Raichik’s post about Red Oak Elementary generated about 585,000 views and nearly 11,000 likes as of Sept. 27, along with many anti-LGBTQ+ replies.

“Child groomers,” one reply read.

Another read: “Normalization of deviancy. Yeah, it does hurt children.”

Then came the threats.

On Sept. 21, six days after Raichik’s post, school staff reported receiving an email claiming that the school would be targeted with a bomb, and the school was evacuated. A search by bomb-sniffing dogs did not turn up any explosive devices, and authorities deemed the threat not to be credible, according to local news website the Lake & McHenry County Scanner. The same thing occurred the following day. On Sept. 26, another threat was received, but administrators were able to determine the emailed threat was not credible, and the school did not have to be evacuated, ABC7 Chicago reported.

While law enforcement did not explicitly tie the threats to the Libs of TikTok post, it would not be the first time that negative attention from the social media account has resulted in threats.

The account, which has previously said LGBTQ+ people “groom” children, was blamed last year for phone threats to and harassment of hospitals that perform gender-affirming surgeries.

Children’s hospitals in particular have been targeted after attention from Libs of TikTok. In August, Boston Children’s Hospital was flooded with threatening emails and calls after the account posted a video of a doctor at the hospital talking about gender-affirming hysterectomies.

More recently, a post about a transgender pride flag being displayed at a university clinic in Oregon was followed by a bomb threat to the clinic.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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