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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

October 11, 2016 -- The possibly media-driven nationwide clown scare has reached Santa Monica.

Samohi parents were alerted late last week that the school had received a "creepy clown" threat via Instagram. Schools in other districts received a similar threat, according to various media reports.

"While law enforcement does not believe the threat is credible, as a precautionary measure we are taking additional steps to increase patrolling around campus," first-year principal Antonio Shelton wrote.

He added, "Classes are in session, instruction continues as normal, and we will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement. Schools and law enforcement do not take threats lightly."

In a separate email to the “Samohi family” (people connected to the school who are not parents), Shelton wrote that the message did not contain a specific threat, but rather it mentioned Samohi and included a map featuring the school's location.

The current nationwide scare began in August when South Carolina children said people dressed as clowns had tried lure them into the woods. Reports soon spread to other states, and media coverage followed.

Law enforcement officials have complained that most of the clown sightings are hoaxes fueled by traditional and social media -- leading to time and effort being wasted to address them.

Shelton referred to the threat to Samohi as a hoax in the email to parents.

"This social media post provides an opportunity to discuss with your student that 'if you see something, say something' and that a threat against a school and/or any student is a felony offense, a crime that is punishable by law," Shelton wrote.

Professional clowns have said the reports have harmed their business. A "clown lives matter" rally is scheduled to take place in Tucson, Arizona later this month.

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