NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — More schools are being threatened by social media clown accounts. New Haven Police addressing the public today with school officials saying there are no tangible threats, but they’re still monitoring the online threats and banning students from wearing clown costumes for Halloween.
Schools were on alert all day Tuesday in parts of Connecticut after vague threats swirled around social media. While not taking the threats lightly, New Haven Police vowed not to give in to hysteria.
“We’re not going to shut the schools down for this stuff. Alright?” declared Officer David Hartman with New Haven Police.
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From Naugatuck High School in the Valley Tuesday morning, to Bullard Havens and Harding High School in Bridgeport placed on lock-down later in the day, the threats popped up on in several different Connecticut cities.
Someone going by the Instagram handle “New Haven Clown” wrote “if you go to Career (High School) watch out”. After several comments, the clown singles out one and writes “you just became our next target”.
Another message read “Then Hillhouse, Cross, Eli Whitney, Co-Op, Sound… u really think it’s fake, wait and see.”
New Haven school officials, were compelled to hold a late-day press conference to address the threats. They said they have no evidence of credible threats to students or schools in the district.
“I want to be clear, at this time we consider this nothing more than a prank and harassment fueled by social media and upcoming Halloween,” said Superintendent Garth Harries.
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New Haven students we spoke with didn’t seem too concerned.
“I’m not worried,” said Donald Walker, a junior at Career. “I know it’s just a little prank, so I’m not stressing about it.”
Two students were arrested at Jonathan Law High School in Milford Tuesday, after police said they were caught spreading pictures of clowns. One student is said to have placed clown pictures inside several lockers. Another student reportedly sent a digital image to classmates.
New Haven Police say their investigation hasn’t reached any criminal level yet. But if it escalates, stricter state laws are now available this year for them to use after lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year.
“New legislation in Connecticut allows felony penalty for tangible threat against schools,” said Officer Hartman.