It all began with reports a few weeks ago around the nation about people reportedly dressing up as clowns, and wandering around in communities, triggering what have been called 'creepy clown sightings.'  It's been spread in part by social media, including Facebook. Our news partner KNDU-TV, reported Wednesday that the Highland High School in Cowiche, WA (near Yakima) was closed due to a specific social media threat made against the school and students, involving clown activity.

According to KNDU-TV, two Yakima School District students are now in custody, accused of perpetrating the hoax, but officials took it seriously.  Other media outlets have published pictures of someone dressed as clown, seen loitering near a shopping center in Modesto, CA two days ago. While some sightings have been confirmed, a lot of hysteria has been spread by people falsely reporting information on social media. Yet, officials are taking it seriously in our area, especially after the Yakima student threat.

Wednesday the Kennewick School District issued the following statement about this disturbing national trend and activity:

We have received phone calls and messages from parents regarding the growing number of reports throughout the nation about "clowns," specifically individuals dressing up like clowns and walking around in an attempt to draw attention or scare individuals. We believe these behaviors are intended as a joke, or hoax, to scare individuals. Understandably, parents are concerned about any potential threats directed at our schools and any extra precautions that we are taking.There have been no substantiated threats made to Kennewick schools at this time. We are in regular contact with Kennewick Police and they are actively monitoring the situation. We also have a well-tested notification system in place with Kennewick Police to communicate any type of threat such as a bomb or a student making threats of violence. This allows us to communicate and make decisions very quickly to protect staff and students while causing the least amount of disruption to the learning process at the schools as possible. Kennewick Police remind you that you should always be aware of your surroundings and practice good situational awareness at all times. If you feel something is suspicious or out of the ordinary, go to a safe and secure location where others are present. Contact your local law enforcement agency by calling 911 or non-emergency (509) 628-0333.


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