Clowns are scary, and recently, they seem to be creeping all around the country. Even horror author Stephen King has weighed in on the hysteria. While most scary clown stories have already been busted as fake, they're still being taken very seriously by authorities in multiple states.
Last week, two schools in Escambia County, Ala. were put on lockdown after a group of "Flomo Klowns" posted threatening messages on Facebook. This week, two other schools near Birmingham, Ala.—Shades Valley High School in Irondale and Holy Family Cristo Rey High School in Ensley—were on lockdown after threats of clowns showing up were shared over the phone and on social media, according to Al.com. Similar situations have occurred in Etowah County, Ala., with increased police presence at Rainbow Middle School and John Jones Elementary, as well as Calhoun County, Ala.
Basically, clowns really seem to hate schools in Alabama.
There will soon be some sad clowns, though: Officials are really cracking down on the circus, corralling clowns across the state and charging them with "making a terroristic threat," which is a felony. In a statement, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said they're asking "that all involved parties be punished to the full extent of the law."
A 22-year-old woman and two juveniles were recently arrested for the "Flomo Klown" incident in Escambia County, according to Al.com. A 16-year-old has been busted for the threat in Calhoun County, and a high school freshman has been arrested for the Etowah County threats. Al.com reports that Rainbow City (in Etowah County) Police Chief Jonathon Horton explained that the student "invented the hoax and originally said he was dared to do it." Then, however, the kid finally admitted, "He just did it on his own because he'd seen [where] other people had done it."
Acknowledging that "In today's climate, we're better safe than sorry," Irondale police Det. Sgt. Michael Mangina admitted to Al.com that the concerns are overblown: "Part of the problem is the fact this stuff gets on social media and it explodes and it alarms people and it just spreads."
So unless you're cool with catching a case, you should resist the urge to make clown threats.