DECATUR, Ala. -- Decatur Police say school resource officers and school officials have received a number of concerns referencing recent social media activities from a number of anonymous social media accounts. Officers say most of these accounts are using the word “Klown” or “Clown” in the screen name title. Authorities are working to determine the source and credibility of the messages.
"While there are some concerning comments from these accounts, this is more about creating public concern and disruption of school and government operations than a credible threat or safety concern," Decatur Police said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
Investigators say at this point, they don't believe any of these message are credible threats. Police say the people creating these anonymous accounts and messages are trying to disrupt school activities and draw attention to themselves or a group of youths. Police say posts about local “Klown” sightings at public parks or local schools have no validity.
"They are simple fake claims in an attempt to create local concerns and fear," Decatur Police said. "As we are beginning to identify some of the sources of these accounts and post we are learning that a number of them have been created by local students or recent students in the Decatur area."
Police say they are trying to identify the parties involved. They are also asking parents, students and concerned citizens to follow these steps:
- Please do not accept any friend request from any Facebook or other social media account if you do not know the source “real name” of the account holder. Do NOT share or repost any messages as if it were "credible" unless you know the original source of that information. To do so only creates more public concern and adds confusion about what is truth and what is being done about the threat. If you see a social media post/ threat that raises your concerns we asked that you NOT repost/share it. You should make an effort to capture that info (i.e. screenshot) and then contact the police or your local school officials with the info and concerns that you have.
- Parents, guardians and other responsible persons are encouraged to help by finding out if your child or his/her friends are involved in promoting this activity. We want these issues to be handled by parents rather than avoiding it until it becomes a school discipline or a criminal (police) matter. Check your child’s social media for any of these activities and contact the authorities reference any concerns. Please advise your children to not participate in these activities on social media. This would include accepting friend request, sharing, or reposting threatening messages, as well as any private messages from these accounts.
Police are taking this type social media activities very seriously, and will prosecute anyone who participates in any activities that create any public disturbance or disruption of government operations such as school activities. If you have any information about who is behind these threats, please call Decatur Police at (256) 341-4600.