By Rachel Schneider
This is no circus. If you have recently watched the news, checked your Facebook feed, or listened to discourse in the hallways, then you have probably heard of the clown sightings. Since August, there have been reports of people dressed in clown costumes appearing throughout the nation and threatening schools and colleges campuses.
While in the past several months clowns have appeared all around the country, lately there have been reports of clown sightings on Long Island. On Oct.11, two phone calls were made to police reporting clown sightings in Brentwood and North Babylon. A tweet was also written about a clown seen on Commack Road.
Local authorities are still unsure of the motive behind the so-called ‘Clown Gang.’ Although there has only been one account of a clown exhibiting violent behavior—a woman was attacked in Ohio— others have been seen holding weapons.
For example, a fourteen year-old boy from Lakeview, Long Island, claimed that a clown holding a knife chased him. There were also reports of a clown carrying a plastic machete in New Jersey.
The police have yet to confirm these appearances but are warning the public that false reportings disturb the peace and could lead to “legal consequences.” Thus, dressing as a clown could result in arrest.
The Twitter account, @LIClowns, is claiming responsibility for many of the threats, but it is still unconfirmed whether or not it is behind the appearances. This account recently tweeted threats to various school districts on Long Island including Sachem and Deer Park.
On Oct. 11, there was a clown scare in Great Neck when an Instagram account called @clownsightingsgreatneck threatened North High School and North Middle School. In response, the campus was closed for the day with students forbidden from leaving the property for lunch; the Nassau County Police Department closely monitored the schools, and additional security was stationed throughout the after-school sports practices and games.
At South, security is aware of the situation and is working to keep our schools safe. According to Vice Principal Mr. John Duggan, “Security is being as vigilant as ever for anything that may be a threat to our students or staff.”
Superintendent Prendergast sent out an email to all parents updating them on the situation and informing them about the actions being taken to resolve the situation.
The clown threats have created mass hysteria, but officials say that they are nothing to fear. However, this reassurance does little to quiet the fear many residents have. Sophomore Chloe Metz said she’s “reminded of these clown sightings everyday due to posts on social media and friends worrying about these clowns.”
This clown phenomenon is an evolving situation that takes on new twists and turns daily. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert because this is no Ringling Bros. circus.