Parenting

Schools Placed on Lockdown as Clown Menace Spreads to Georgia

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, after lighting the 2017 National Christmas Tree near the White House. Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

For the past couple of months, creepy clowns have been reported in at least eleven states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky,  Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Georgia —  scaring children, alarming parents, and frustrating law enforcement.

While many of the sightings and threats have turned out to be hoaxes, the latest sighting in Brighton, Georgia — where a clown ambushed two youngsters — appears to be the real deal.

Al.com reported:

Someone dressed in a clown costume jumped out from behind bushes in Brighton and chased two young teens.

Brighton police Chief Ray Hubbart said the incident happened about 8 p.m. Sunday on Huntsville Avenue near King Street. After chasing the kids – who were between the ages of 13 and 15 – the “clown” got into a white van and sped off.

“No words were exchanged,” Hubbart said. “But this was a legitimate incident.”

The incident appeared to be a “copycat crime,” Hubbart added, “and it’s no laughing matter.”  According to Al.com, Georgia has seen a rash of creepy clown sightings in recent days.

On Monday, two Birmingham area schools were placed on lockdown after social media posts warned that clowns might show up at the schools today. Similar incidents have taken place in Flomaton, Etowah County, Calhoun County and Montgomery. In some instances in other states, children have reported clowns trying to lure them into the woods. In other cases, victims have been messaged by the so-called clowns with vulgar language.

As it turned out, a teenage prankster was behind the threatening clown Facebook posts that forced the school lockdowns in Decatur, Georgia.

Now a Decatur City Schools student is being disciplined after police determined the student was knowingly spreading the hoax.

The police department spent thousands of dollars and diverted investigative resources and officers to deal with the hoax Monday morning.

Decatur Police Department spokesman Lt. Proncey Robertson said dispatch has received dozens of calls from concerned residents.

Decatur City Schools Campus Safety Director Dwight Satterfield said he’s seen this hoax before, “and it coincided with a rock band that came to Alabama.”

 That band has a concert scheduled for Birmingham on Oct. 8.

“Seems like every time you get the music group Insane Clown Posse coming to Alabama, which they are in the next couple of weeks, that we go through a series of these clown sightings, clown pranks,” Satterfield said.

Police want parents to check their kids’ social media activity. They say most of these clown threat posts are being pushed along by people 14-21 years old.

“This behavior is not cute or funny,” La Grange, Georgia, police said in a Facebook post. “Understand that if officers see this behavior, you’re going to have a conversation with them. And, if applicable, you may face criminal charges.”