School districts taking extra precautions amid clown threats

- Several North Texas school districts say they’re investigating threatening ‘creepy clown’ messages made against the districts on social media.

Dallas, Garland, Richardson, Saginaw and Richardson school districts say they have looked into the messages and determined they are hoaxes, part of a growing phenomenon making its way across schools around the country. But in some cases, worried parents are pulling kids out of class.

Dolores Lira says she not taking any chances. She picked up her 15-year-old son, Alberto Abrego, from Grady Spruce High School late Monday morning when the school went on lockdown.

Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller confirmed several schools were on lockdown, but not solely because of the clown threats. He said there were routine drug dog checks scheduled for Monday morning. Miller also said he thinks some of the photos being shared on social media did not originate in Dallas.

But Abrego, like many other students, texted his mom about the threats that were circulating on social media.

A picture that was shared on social media showed a person at Skyline High School wearing a clown mask in the school cafeteria. School officials confirmed a student was under the mask and are considering whether to discipline him and possibly make an example of him.

A Grady Spruce student who contacted FOX 4 claims to have seen a clown in the parking lot tying balloons on cars. Parents at Skyline High School heard their school was also named in online threats.

“Hopefully, they take care of everything,” one parent said. “This is how come we do need our law enforcement to be on point.”

Richardson ISD confirmed they are looking into threats written on windows of JJ Pearce High school and posts on social media targeting Richardson High School. A letter to parents said the threatening posts were not believed to be credible and have been deleted.  The school district said it will have additional security at both schools.

The incidents follow other creepy clown threats across the nation, including an Ohio woman who said she was attacked by a man dressed as a clown. Ultimately, police in the Cincinnati suburb charged her with making a false report. There was another incident in the same town Friday. Another woman told police she was attacked by a clown on her front porch and schools were closed as a precaution.

Local school police say the threats around North Texas appear to be copycat teens trying to get out of class. Still, they're investigating and want students to know they could face serious consequences for the threats.

"This is foolery," said parent Irene Lane. "These clowns need to know that there's going to be somebody sitting out here with they right to carry. And they right carry is gonna be as soon as they see that guy, they gonna pop them right in their... you know."

Fort Worth police investigated one report of a suspicious person dressed as a clown running down a sidewalk yelling Sunday night. Responding officers didn’t find anything.

Some speculate the recent clown sightings are related to the remake of Stephen King’s “It.” However, New Line Cinema has denied any involvement. Others suspect the reports will die down after Halloween.

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