District takes extra precautions to keep the school safe during clown hoaxes

Katie Basta

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On Sunday, Oct. 2, the Pattonville School District notified parents and staff in an email that the district had become aware of an online threat that a group of clowns were planning to attack the school the next day. Other school districts received the same threats.

Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton sent out the following statement Sunday afternoon:

“Today we became aware of a threat against Pattonville High School that appears to be related to the national craze of creepy clown hoaxes and sightings. We are assisting the Maryland Heights police in investigating this threat. School will be held as normal tomorrow, however we will have an extra police presence as an added precaution. We must take all threats seriously and will always take the steps necessary to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff.”

Pattonville High School Student Resource Officer Mark Storer said that the school was prepared and took extra precautions to ensure the students’ safety.

“We had extra police cars here at the school, all the administrators had specific places where they were supposed to be at the beginning and at the end of the school day, and we also had extra patrol cars around the area watching the other schools, like the elementary schools, during arrival and departure times.”

Despite these precautions, there were many students that still felt more safe at home and consequently didn’t go to school.

According to attendance records, 211 students were recorded absent on Monday. Compared to Tuesday, when just 64 students missed school, that is a comparative percentage of 96 percent of students present to just 87 percent present.

Attendance clerk Carrie Jones said parents called in the absences citing the clowns as the reason.

“I would say I probably had about 60 to 70 of them who did say it was because of the clowns,” Jones said. “The majority of parents did share that information with me.”

 

Storer felt that the precautions at school created a more secure environment for the students.

“I wasn’t really anticipating any clowns showing up at school,” Storer said. “I think our biggest concern was the kids’ reaction to it, and making sure that the parents knew the school was safe.”

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District takes extra precautions to keep the school safe during clown hoaxes