LIVONIA (CBS Detroit) – Reports of scary clowns around multiple schools across metro Detroit are causing concern — but in some cases officials say it’s just a case of rumors spread by social media.
The superintendent at Clarenceville School District in Livonia told WWJ Newsradio 950 there was no clown walking around the track at the middle school, on Middlebelt Road near 8 Mile, on Wednesday.
This comes after parents took to Facebook voicing concerns that the district didn’t send a letter or make them aware of the situation after students said they spotted a person dressed as a clown while walking across the bridge from the middle school to the high school. School officials insist, however, that the students made it up.
A letter to parents posted Thursday urged them — “due to this phenomenon concerning clown sightings ” — to speak to their children about “the seriousness of making false reports, spreading inaccurate information, and/or dressing up like a clown as a joke.”
“These types of actions can cause undue fear and can lead to unintended consequences that are dangerous,” Superintendent Paul Shepich wrote.
In Shelby Township, students at West Utica Elementary reported seeing three people dressed as clowns hiding behind trees during school. The clowns, who were holding signs, were reportedly peeking out from behind the trees trying to scare the kids. Students said the signs were too far away for them to be able to read them.
To the west, police have been getting calls about alleged clown sightings by students in the Wayne-Westland school district since Monday.
While multiple children have said they have seen clowns around their middle schools, Westland and Wayne police say no adults have seen any clowns on any local campus or elsewhere in the city.
In a statement posted to the district’s website Thursday, Superintendent Michele Harmala said she is aware of social media posts about concerns of threatening information about clowns visiting schools.
“Despite the various reports, at this time there has been no verification of clowns at or near our schools by the district or local police,”she said in a statement. “Be assured that we have procedures in place to manage safety concerns and that these procedures are practiced regularly.”
Wayne police say they “have saturated the area with patrol cars” to help reassure the community members of their safety; and Harmala said school officials will continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with police.
All of this comes after last week in Troy, police responded to Athens High School where a person dressed as a clown was scaring students and worrying parents. Police identified and spoke with that clown and determined there was no threat.
Troy police say the trend of clowns on school grounds is impeding the educational process and using police and school resources.
“Thus, we will be taking a ‘no warnings’ approach to clowns on school property,” reads a post on the department’s Facebook page. “You will be arrested for and charged with Unauthorized Use of School Property. Schools are a clown free zone! The Police Department lock up is not a clown free zone.”
In Warren Consolidated Schools, an email went out from the superintendent after two clowns were reportedly spotted Wednesday near Wilkerson Elementary. Some parents say they want to know more about what schools and police plan to do about it.
“They’re on top of the situation but it’s ridiculous that I had to have a conversation with my children last night in regards to this,” Crystal Ann wrote on Facebook. “As if child molesters and sex trafficking isn’t enough to worry about.”
Metro Detroit mom Amanda Daly, who said her 9-year-old daughter was in tears when she dropped her off at school, had this message for clown offenders: “They’re kids for god sakes; stay the hell away!”
Although no one was injured in any of these school-related incidents, a boy told police he was cut by a man wearing a clown suit and wielding a knife in a trailer park in Sterling Heights on Tuesday.
Thursday, police continued to search for an “armed and dangerous” man who wore a clown mask when he held up a Livonia hotel. He allegedly fired shots at police as they chased him from Livonia to Detroit.