Clown threats cause chaos

Sophomore Geno Simmons spotted as a clown on Carrigan Avenue.

photo by Senior Jackson Flynn

Sophomore Geno Simmons spotted as a clown on Carrigan Avenue.

Justin Baronoff, Sports Editor

If you have ever read the 1986 novel or seen the 1990 movie of Stephen King’s It, then you would realize that clowns never had as happy a connotation as our parents made it seem. King’s fictional idea, has become in some peoples’ eyes a reality, as there have been reports of people dressed in clown costumes causing threats of violence throughout the United States, including several reports in Seminole County.

On Aug. 29, residents in Greenville County, S.C., reported that they saw a person dressed as a clown trying to lure children in the woods nearby. The entire country took notice which led to more clown occurrences, including Columbus, Ohio, where six clowns were arrested and Marion County, Fla. where there have been several police calls about them.

Clown threats spread to Seminole County with threats made on Instagram to Lake Howell High School. On Monday, Oct. 3, Seminole County Public Schools called and emailed parents, and posted on Twitter about the ongoing investigation and that students should proceed with their daily schedule.

A false claim of clown sightings at Hagerty was made. Even though there were no clowns seen on campus, this led administration to investigate.
A false claim of clown sightings at the school were made on Monday, Oct. 3. Even though there were no clowns seen on campus, this led administration to investigate.

“It has just become a silly prank, that because of this day and age, we must investigate for safety reasons on campus,” athletic director Jay Getty said. “It’s just a trend that will soon grow old.”

Although It may have served as the basis for the idea of a violent clown, it is not the most relevant, as senior Francesca Spadaro suggests the popular Netflix series, American Horror Story, could have led to these clown threats.

“Either people have read too many serial killer cases or they’ve been watching too much American Horror Story,” Spadaro said. “I think [American Horror Story] has served as everybody’s inspiration because there is a season called Freak Show that stars a serial killer clown named Twisty.”

Despite where the clowns may have come from, one student, who didn’t want to be named, had an encounter with one that has led her to believe they are a serious threat.

“I was just driving down my neighborhood and saw [a clown] walking along the street,” the student said. “It was scary and if a clown approaches you, you should just run and not try to fight them.”

While sophomore Geno Simmons, who actually dressed up as clown to scare a friend, thinks it is a joke, he did hate administration questioning him.

“I thought it was hilarious and didn’t intend to harm anyone, but other people are crazy and take it too far,” Simmons said. “It’s not illegal to wear a clown costume, and because the media has given this so much attention, the clowns are going to do more.”

The clown threats have now become a nationwide topic that have led to law enforcement contacting the FBI and even McDonalds sidelining their clown mascot, Ronald McDonald.

Even though the threats might continue throughout October, Getty believes students and parents should avoid any confrontations.

“Unless you can identify the clowns or any objects posted on social media, disregard them,” Getty said. “Notifying local authorities is a good first step with this situation, but [these clowns] are just individuals with nothing better to do with their personal time.”