Every generation produces an aging bunch that proclaims “the world is going to hell in a hand basket.” Now that group has proof.
Public schools in multiple states are reporting a rash of “creepy clown” incidents that involve death threats, crimes, and the menacing of school staff. The New Times says 12 people are facing various charges. At least one “clown hoax” that has been linked to a death.
Were this happening in one place there might be less concern, but district from east to west are experiencing attacks.
A teen in Kansas has been arrested for making “creepy clown” threats on social media against two schools in Wichita.
A high school student was arrested in Prince George’s County, Maryland for making threats against Parkdale High School, and another student faces disciplining for bomb threats against Blandensburgh High School.
Parents in Seattle were alerted by school staff that several local schools were named as clown targets in Instagram and Facebook posts.
School officials in New Haven have called for a ban on clown costumes until more information is available about the threat clown threat.
While none of these stories give clues about the origin of the creepy clown faux-crime wave against public schools, Thomas Erik Bascome’s article in SIlive.com locates State Island, New York as the launching point.
In March 2014, there were several reports of a mysterious clown wandering Staten Island that caused quite the uproar online.The “Staten Island Clown” became a social media sensation when pictures came forth of him dressed in what appeared to be a replica costume of Pennywise from Stephen King’s “It” — consisting of a yellow jumpsuit, face paint, and a classic red nose.
The story drew massive interest and was shared by many major news outlets.
The clown was spotted at the Grasmere and Richmond Valley train stations but reportedly did not bother anyone, simply standing and waving at onlookers. However, this was enough to scare several Staten Islanders to the point of Tweeting that they were afraid to even leave their house.
Less than a week after the first reports came out, it was discovered that the “Staten Island Clown” was really just a promotional stunt for Fuzz on the Lens Productions, a low budget film company with roots on Staten Island.
In past years the public might had viewed these incidents as youthful horseplay. But in an era of school shootings and declining school budgets schools districts must take precautions that divert staff attention and resources to a needless problem that puts everyone on edge.