Clown sightings in the Chicago area have sparked major concern among parents after threats targeting schools in the area were posted to social media and in-person.
Authorities in Waukegan are investigating clown threats against Greenwood Elementary School after staff members reported that three people dressed in full clown attire taunted students during recess at around 1:50 p.m. on Oct. 4. According to local reports, one of the suspects brandished a knife, while another clown had a gun “in his pocket.”
The clowns reportedly told the students they will return on Friday to “kill them.”
“The children reported to us that one of them might have a knife. And they believe that they saw some sort of object in one of their pockets. It could be a handgun,” said Cmdr. Joe Florip, Waukegan Police Department, reported ABC 7 Chicago.
The school was briefly placed on lockdown as police canvassed the area but didn’t find the suspects. The Waukegan police department has taken precautions and added security at Greenwood and other area schools.
There has also been a rash of clown sightings in the Chicago area as of late. Police received a report of an incident involving a clown chasing a group of students and parents in the 6000-block of South Damen at around 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 4. Parents were advised to pick up their children at dismissal.
School District 308 officials in Oswego, Illinois became aware of threats made toward Thompson Junior High School and Traughber Junior High School on Oct. 3. After an investigation, it was determined the threats were unsubstantiated.
“We ask parents and students to be cautious of what they share via social media.,” the district wrote on it Facebook page. “We appreciate students and parents alerting the schools to any potential threats. Be assured that the safety of our School District 308 students and staff is our top priority.”
Social media threats involving clowns threatening to harm students on school grounds have become widespread throughout the nation, first beginning in southern states such as Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina in August. Since then, there have been reports of clown sightings in the tri-state area and Southern California.