The student news site of Hayward High School

The Killer Clown Effect

December 9, 2016

Figures plastered in face paint that were once seen as comical are now seen as either an annoyance or to be feared, with the latter originating from reports from an apartment complex, claiming that clowns were attempting to lure children into the forests of South Carolina with candy.
Then reported sightings of these creepy clowns have since increased tenfold, creating a national clown frenzy and phenomenon, with more than two dozen states reporting these sightings. Social media videos on encounters with clowns have gone viral and schools have received threats, which have been mostly proven to be a hoax and the credibility of these threats questionable.

While the credibility of these reports are to be questioned, there have been arrests made and the threats weren’t taken lightly.

This can be seen with NCRA News report of the Fairfield police’s response, when a twitter account called ‘@ClownGanng1’ promised visits via tweets to Fairfield elementary schools and high schools, which included Grange Middle School, and Fairfield High on Oct. 4, as well as creepy visits to Rodriguez High and the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy on the following day.

While the visits were believed to be a hoax by the Fairfield police, they were on high alert, and added patrols on campus, to ensure the safety of students.

On October 4, the “East Bay Times” reported that the clown rumors were making their way down to Oakland and Antioch schools after students alerted the Dallas Ranch Middle School in Antioch about a disturbing Instagram post. The post contained an eerie message, threatening the school about clowns visiting the campus during school hours. Not too long ago at another Antioch school, Black Diamond Middle school, was when a similar incident happened as well. Antioch’s Superintendent of Educational Services, Adam Clark, sent automated phone calls to parents about the rumors, and urged them to remind their children not to spread threatening rumors.

The Oakland Unified School District has had similar “clown threats” on various social media sites. The threats were dubbed as hoaxes; however, the police and district have been actively investigating these threats.

As an attempt to emulate the clown scares seen online gone viral, people have dressed as clowns with the intention of scaring people or as a joke and even copycats made false threats online for similar reasons. The tables were turned when two California students (one from Fontana and the other in Glendora) were arrested for threatening people on social media in early October.

According to KTLA5 News, the Fontana teen, who was 14-years-old, was arrested “on suspicion of criminal threats”. The teen was identified as the “Fontana Killer Clown” on social media. According to Fontana police, the boy wanted to scare people and see how his following numbers on his social media would increase as a result. The “Fontana Killer Clown” was busted when Fontana police identified the boy after receiving calls of threats on social media. The 14-year-old boy was then taken to San Bernardino Juvenile Hall.

The 19-year-old Glendora teen, who was identified as William Salazar was also arrested when he was accused of making death threats against students at a local high school through clown Facebook and Instagram profiles. His Facebook profile was titled, “Clowner Hoe”. Salazar’s bail was said to be set for $50,000.

As for Hayward High, the school has taken the clown situation very seriously. When the Junior class announced their Downtown Rally theme for the year, Junior Freak Show, there was an immediate rule against students dressed as clowns or anything remotely close to a clown costume.

The clown issue has even made its way to the White House, where press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the sightings and threats. “I don’t know that the President has been briefed on this particular situation,” Earnest said, The Hill reports. “Obviously, this is a situation that law enforcement is taking quite seriously.”

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