CLOWNS HAUNTING THE HEART OF DIXIE

Alabama schools, police say clown scare no laughing matter

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The circus may be coming to town.

After several clown sightings have been reported in recent weeks — primarily in Southern states such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and most recently Alabama — a new clown threat claims to be targeting Montgomery schools.

A newly created Facebook account named Bingerman Clownferd, which has since been deleted, began posting about visiting Montgomery schools last week. This weekend, Clownferd caused a stir on social media with a post listing which Montgomery schools would be visited.

The posts included vulgar language and threats of violence and began the day after Flomaton Police Department arrested two juveniles and an adult for a similar threat that caused a soft lockdown at Flomaton schools.

“I’m the southlawn clown I saw all of you all today at school I watched y’all walk home ik who y’all are if I don’t get u tonight it will be monday (sic),” Clownferd posted on Sept. 16.

Montgomery Public Schools Senior Communication Officer Tom Salter said the school is taking the threat seriously.

“They arrested three people in south Alabama (last week) making threats to a school in Flomaton. It may just be a copycat thing, but we’ve been talking to law enforcement all weekend. We’ve taken all the precautions we need to take,” Salter said.

​In 11 years as MPS senior communication officer, Salter has not seen anything like this.

“It’s the first time I remember anything associated with clowns but it’s no laughing matter,” Salter said. “We got a few messages from parents and one or two from teachers mainly making sure we were aware of it, which we were. We always encourage anybody who hears of any concern to reach out to us. There may be one we haven’t heard of.”

Troy Police Department announced Monday that two teens who were similarly clowning around in Troy were apprehended. No charges were filed, but Troy PD confiscated the teens’ masks and Facebook account used to threaten violence against Troy residents.

The teens are students at Charles Henderson High School.

In some cases, the clown sightings have seemingly been pre-Halloween pranks meant to unnerve locals. In other cases, the threat has been more serious. Bibb County Sheriff’s Office was called Sept. 13 after reports of clowns chasing children away from bus stops. In Greenville County, S.C., patrols have increased after reports of clowns trying to lure children into the woods.

And Monday in Irondale, a high school was on lockdown after a social media post warned of clowns showing up to the campus.

Shades Valley High School, which is just east of Birmingham, was locked down Monday after a student alerted authorities to Facebook posts hinting that clowns might show up to the school.

Irondale police Officer James Lewis, a school resource officer, says “there was no threat.”

Article source: Andrew J. Yawn, USA TODAY

 

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