In response to clown-related threats that mirror a recent trend of alleged clown sightings around the country, some St. Louis area school districts are adding to their security presence.
Sunday evening, Hazelwood School District announced on Facebook that there had been threats against several of its schools "that appears to be related to the national craze of creepy clown hoaxes and sightings." Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart said extra police will be added in the district's buildings.
"We must take all threats seriously," she said, "and will always take the steps necessary to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff.”
The Parkway School District notified parents and staff in an email Sunday afternoon that the district had become aware of an online threat to a number of St. Louis County schools, also referencing the same "national craze of creepy clown hoaxes and sightings."
The district was unaware of any Parkway schools that were specifically mentioned, but said that "as a precaution," it would have added security at its campuses.
The Florissant Police department posted a similar note on its Facebook page, saying that it will have additional patrols around Florissant schools, particularly during arrival and dismissal times.
Police in Granite City and Pevely have also been tied up in recent weeks with calls about clowns. Pevely Police Capt. Tony Moutray said he believes the reports are a hoax mimicking the national furor, but he's concerned someone could be harmed. He said when police responded to one report of a clown sighting, they encountered armed "clown-hunters" who had heard about the sighting on social media.
He fears an officer, a "clown hunter" or some other member of the public could be hurt. He's planning to step up police presence on Halloween.