Last night, my friend posted on Facebook that her daughter, a freshman in college, had received a text warning from the school that there was a creepy clown nearby. Now that creepy-clown masks are so readily available in the Halloween section of every supermarket, drug store, and big-box store, I expect this will continue to escalate. It’s hard to believe this creepy-clown phenomenon is actually “a thing”…it sound more like a bad movie plot.
But it’s real – it’s called “performance crime,” and it’s affecting school districts across the US. In addition to creepy clowns roaming the streets, jumping in front of moving cars, approaching dog-walkers, joggers, moms unloading their groceries from the minivan, and creepy-clowns allegedly attempting to lure kids into the woods, these clown threats are spreading like wildfire across social media, and schools are being targeted. Some districts have closed schools as a precaution.
I have lots of questions…
- Why are schools being targeted? Because kids are behind these “pranks” – AKA performance crimes? Because targeting schools will get a reaction out of parents, teachers, and law enforcement? Or could these be serious threats against kids and teachers?
- Why clowns? Why not some other scary masks? I’m guessing it’s related to social media and the ease of spreading clown-related hashtags. I doubt these people have intentionally tapped into the clown-anxiety from our childhood.
- What is the best plan of action for schools? In my opinion, the exterior doors should be locked anyway, and going into full lockdown seems excessive. But what about recess?
- How can colleges and universities prevent the creepy-clown hysteria from getting out of hand? What precautions should students and staff take?
Here’s a report from CBS News: