Clown threats spread to Car­roll

Two schools are put on tem­po­rary lock­out; re­ports un­sub­stan­ti­ated

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Emily Chap­pell Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Car­rie Wells contributed to this ar­ti­cle.

Two Car­roll County schools were un­der height­ened se­cu­rity for about an hour Wed­nes­day af­ter re­ports of what of­fi­cials de­scribed as clown-re­lated threats — the lat­est in­ci­dent in which threats in­volv­ing men­ac­ing clowns have spread on so­cial me­dia.

Car­roll County schools of­fi­cials said that the re­ports were un­sub­stan­ti­ated, and they lifted the “lock­out” at Shiloh Mid­dle School and Hamp­stead El­e­men­tary School at 2 p.m.

A lock­out in­di­cates a pos­si­ble ex­ter­nal threat, and all out­side doors are locked, and stu­dents are kept in­side as classes are con­ducted as usual.

A par­ent no­ti­fied school ad­min­is­tra­tors with con­cerns that Shiloh Mid­dle School was a pos­si­ble tar­get of threats, cit­ing so­cial me­dia posts about clowns.

As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Steven John­son said law en­force­ment was no­ti­fied and the schools were placed un­der a lock­oout as a pre­cau­tion.

Hamp­stead El­e­men­tary was in­cluded be­cause of its prox­im­ity to Shiloh Mid­dle, John­son said.

“The threat was thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated and found to be un­sub­stan­ti­ated,” the school sys­tem said in a news re­lease.

Anumber of peo­ple have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with clown threats na­tion­wide. A16-year-old West­min­ster girl was charged this week in con­nec­tion with clown-re­lated threats made against schools in Wash­ing­ton County, ac­cord­ing to law en­force­ment of­fi­cials there.

Also this week, Philadel­phia po­lice were work­ing with the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity to in­ves­ti­gate clown threats.

The Mary­land Cen­ter for School Safety, the Mary­land Co­or­di­na­tion and Anal­y­sis Cen­ter and Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion are mon­i­tor­ing the phe­nom­e­non.

Schools through­out Mary­land have seen peo­ple us­ing so­cial me­dia to send threat­en­ing mes­sages while pos­ing as “creepy clowns,” the Car­roll County school sys­tem said in an email to par­ents.

“It is im­por­tant to note that both na­tion­wide and within Mary­land, these threats have been deemed by law en­force­ment to be non-cred­i­ble and un­sub­stan­ti­ated and found to be a hoax,” the school sys­tem said in the email.

“Schools and school sys­tems within Mary­land are work­ing dili­gently with lo­cal and state law en­force­ment to address these threats and to iden­tify the sub­jects re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing the threats.”

The school sys­tem en­cour­aged par­ents to dis­cuss “the im­por­tance of safe and re­spon­si­ble use of so­cial me­dia” with their chil­dren.

“Please re­mind them not to post, send, or share any ma­te­rial that could be in­ter­preted to be threat­en­ing or un­safe in na­ture to ei­ther a class­mate or school,” the email said. “If stu­dents see any ma­te­rial online per­ceived to be threat­en­ing or un­safe, they should im­me­di­ately re­port their con­cerns to a trusted adult such as a teacher, coun­selor, prin­ci­pal or school re­source of­fi­cer.

“We all have a role to play when it comes to school safety and se­cu­rity. If you see some­thing that looks sus­pi­cious or crim­i­nal in na­ture, please no­tify your lo­cal 911 Cen­ter.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.