Laramie High School and Laramie Junior High have received two so-called clown threats this week. Police presence has been increased at the schools, and on Wednesday both buildings were put in lockout, where no one was allowed to enter or leave the schools.
According to Stuart Nelson, the director of facilities and operations for Albany County School District 1, the threats were made on social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat and involved pictures of clowns along with a jumbled message that threatened something bad would happen to the school. Concerned parents reached out to the school district.
These kinds of threats have been reported nationwide in recent weeks, with many found to be pranks.
“When we have a threat like this we go ahead and heighten our security," Nelson said. "We involve law enforcement to a whole different level. We’re not willing to take the chance that it’s not a hoax.”
Nelson said even if they were hoaxes, threats like these impact the learning environment at school.
“Not only that, they impact the parents and the whole community,” he said. “It’s very difficult for us to get out in front of social media, and so we’re trying to gather the correct information before we send out any press releases or notifications.”
In a press release Friday, District Superintendent Jubal Yennie urged parents to talk to their kids about the seriousness of misusing social media.
Two juveniles were cited with criminal activity for making the threats. Police also stopped a teenager in Gillette earlier this week after he dressed up in a clown costume and walked near Prairie Wind Elementary School, but he was not cited.