‘Creepy clown’ craze prompts police call-outs at Illawarra schools

The ‘creepy clown’ craze has prompted security concerns and a number of police call-outs at Illawarra schools. 

But according to area police, the fad has produced no violent activity, or even clown sightings, and students have little to fear from it.

Lake Illawarra police attended multiple area high schools on Friday, after students alerted their teachers to threatening social media posts. The posts named area schools that were to be the target of intimidating or violent activity by pranksters dressed in terrifying clown costumes.

Inspector Brian Pedersen, from the Lake Illawarra local area command, said police had patrolled the ‘targeted’ schools, without incident. 

”Some schools, as a precautionary measure, have closed access gates and limited access to one entry, however there have been no reports of clown activity at the schools,” he said. 

“It is a concern that [pranksters] are picking this time of year to try and intimidate or scare people, as there would be hundreds of children currently sitting their high school certificate, and this would be a needless distraction for those undertaking their exams.” 

Police were called to Gipps Street, Kiama, Monday afternoon, after a child reported seeing a scary clown at a distance. Police found nothing. 

On Friday Warilla High School employed a security guard to stand at the school gate in an action linked to the online threats. 

“This is in response to commentaries that intruders may visit the school today,” school principal John Hambly told parents, in a post to Facebook.

“This is purely a precautionary action as the safety and security of our students and staff is our most important priority. I do not envisage any issues but I would be negligent in my responsibilities if I wasn't proactive in my response to such commentaries.

“Unfortunately, the world is a fundamentally different place to that of bygone years and I am not about to second guess what may occur.”

Many parents praised Mr Hambly’s “pro-active” approach to the problem. A lone malcontent  threatened legal action “if my kid got injured and I knew the school knew about any preconceived violence planned”.