If you’ve been following the national news, you’ll know that there have been several instances of crimes committed by people dressed up as clowns. Until last night I thought this was just happening in other places, but then my tween came home and told us he wasn’t allowed to use his cell phone at school the rest of the week. Apparently enough kids were calling and texting (not allowed) their parents during school hours, and I have to assume some of those parents were calling the school in return. The Principal laid down the law and said no phones (and she also said – the school is a safe place) for the rest of the week.
Apparently there was one local incident, at 8:45pm in Russell Creek Park last Thursday (9/29/16). You can read the full story on WFAA here. The summary is that some idiot dressed as a clown, carrying a baseball bat, attempted to attack a 20-something man, who is an MMA expert. The result? The bloody clown ran back into the woods, empty handed. The clown is lucky the guy wasn’t carrying.
Here are what some of the parents on the Plano Health & Fitness Facebook page had to say (post):
- My son came home with a text that’s going around saying there are 10 students from each school that a clown is “after”
- My daughter said the clowns wanted to shoot up the school
- (my) Husband is a Dallas officer. Three calls tonight about clown sightings.
- my daughter’s tell me that the clowns are using different social media sending messages like ..see you soon and stuff like that
- My kid texted me from school today terrified.
I’m assuming that the middle schoolers are all freaking out and spreading crazy rumors about clowns coming to attack their school. Do your child, and his/her school a favor, and bring this up with your kids (the ones you think are old enough to understand). I checked in with Officer Tilley of the Plano Police Dept. and he agreed with these tips:
- Make sure your kids feel safe at school. Talk about what you have to do in order to get in the building, and that volunteers are screened by Plano ISD each year. Remind them to never open an outside door at school for anyone – let the school administration handle that.
- Talk about the difference between factual reports and rumors. That getting a text or reading/seeing something on social media or YouTube is NOT the same as a news story from a journalist.
- Tell them that if someone sends them a message about clown threats they should NOT forward it to their friends. Don’t fuel the rumor flames! If they are concerned they should show the message to an adult.
- Make sure they know to call 911 in the case of an actual emergency (have them practice giving their name and address). If something bad does happen they need to contact the police, not their friends via social media or text message.
- Tell them that starting rumors or pulling clown pranks is wrong, and could get them into a lot of trouble (or worse). A 13 year old in Pennsylvania could be facing criminal charges for spreading rumors! story And closer to home, a Houston 14 year old has been charged with making a terroristic threat on social media. story
The bottom line? Yes, there are some “bad guys” out there committing crimes while dressed as a clown, but the adults are on top of it, and if you see or hear something that concerns you talk to an adult, don’t send it to all of your friends!