Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect new information from Loveland, Colorado.
Clowns are starting to gain national attention as stories are popping up involving suspicious clowns in at least ten different states.
The clown craze reached Fort Collins after gaining attention across the country.
Fort Collins Police Services and Poudre School District were notified Wednesday night of a threat posted to Facebook that included images and emoticons of clowns.
The threat was directed at Poudre High School and police presence of campus has been increased as a result.
Parents were notified by the district of the situation.
“We do not believe it’s credible,” said Jerry Schiager, FCPS assistant chief. “It looks just like the others to be a hoax.”
Hoax or no hoax, FCPS takes the protection of school students, staff and faculty seriously and increased the number of resource officers on Poudre High’s campus.
Poudre High remained open on Thursday, though many parents chose to keep their children home.
“Poudre School District and FCPS will be providing additional security and continue to be vigilant at Poudre High School,” wrote the Fort Collins Police Services Facebook page.
According to the Coloradoan, a 15-year-old female student is believed to have made the post.
FCPS are conducting an investigation to find the origin of the message.
Stories of these clowns trying to entice children into woods, threaten or scare bystanders have become increasingly common, and could be happening on the CSU campus as well.
Maegen Garcia, freshman theater major, was walking home with friends one night when a man in a mask and a large wig jumped up in front of them as they were walking past the Durrell dining center just past midnight.
Garcia said the man got close to the group and frightened them.
“I’m sure it was just a prank,” Garcia said. “But, I really didn’t want to stay to see what happened. … I don’t think people should be joking around like that.”
These cases are not alone in northern Colorado.
Earlier this week, Greeley police said that a post went out online that threatened a shooting on Halloween night. This post turned into a rumor that two clowns would carry out shootings at two Greeley schools.
In Loveland last Thursday, the Thompson R2-J School District sent out an email to parents regarding a threat submitted to the Loveland High School Community “Safe 2 Tell” program. The program is designed as a tool for students, staff and community members to report suspicious messages and other activity.
The schools were not closed or on lock-down, but increased security presence. Like the FCPS, Hausmann does not believe the threats to be credible, but as a part of a national hoax.
Loveland parents told the Collegian that they heard rumors of a clown arrested on Saturday, but this has not yet been confirmed by law enforcement.
“TSD staff and law enforcement will continue to remain vigilant throughout the district,” wrote Mike Hausmanns Thompson School District Public Information Officer in the email to the Loveland Community. “The safety of students, staff and visitors is always our number-one priority each and every day.”
Collegian reporter Tony Villalobos May can be reached online at email@example.com or on twitter at @TonyTheGnarly.