NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Disturbing images of clowns surfacing all over social media with threatening messages to local schools prompted police investigations and fear among students.
“It’s definitely going to change what I think of clowns now. something I’m going to be scared of,” said Brian Reilly who is a student at Sacred Heart University.
A law now in effect will punish people who make threat to schools with the intent to cause an evacuation that includes preschools and universities.
“It [the threats] has created fear. It has created a sense of uncertainty to our campuses, whether it be college, high school or just the surrounding community,” said State Senator Tony Hwang. “Those individuals that make these kinds of threats and evacuate the school will create such an unsettling environment to the educational process to the health and well being and safety of our community will now be punished.”
The punishment would result in a felony. Sacred Heart university students tell News 8 clowns were spotted outside the dorm Sunday.
“There were clowns spotted behind woods behind the dorm rooms and students spotted them and they went on lock down and nobody was allowed to leave,” said Reilly. “It’s a little unsettling you don’t know when they are going to come back, if they come back.”
“I didn’t really want to go out and have to deal with any of that,” said Christine Benvenuto.
Hwang says if you see something unusual in your community, say something.
“There are prices to be paid, not only from the standpoint of punishment, but the effect it has on our students, on their ability to learn and their ability to move forward into the real world without looking over their shoulder about what fearful acts of violence and terrorism could occur,” said Hwang.
As of Tuesday night, two girls were arrested by Naugatuck police and two teens from Jonathan Law High School were arrested for alleged involvement in social media threats.