HOUSTON – More schools in the Houston area beefed up security Monday after another rash of threats on social media from accounts featuring creepy-looking clowns.
The threats, which have been circulating nationwide on websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, prompted a response from some local school districts on Friday. Those responses increased Monday.
In many of the messages sent to parents, school officials said investigators have determined that the threats are “not credible,” but extra measures are being taken to ensure the safety of students and staff as a precaution.
On Monday, officials in Spring Independent School District, Alvin ISD and Goose Creek Consolidated ISD said they called in extra security.
Schools that have received threats:
A phone message sent to parents of Houston ISD students did not mention increased security, but said the safety of students is a top priority.
“Over the last several days, non-specific threats to schools in Houston and surrounding school districts have been posted to social media. Please know all students are safe. HISD police and other law enforcement agencies have determined the threats were not credible. Out of an abundance of caution, police are monitoring the situation. Teaching and learning are continuing as usual. Though the threat is not believed to be credible, we are taking every precaution possible to ensure safety. Please know we take all threats seriously as the safety or our students and staff is always or top priority.”
In a Facebook post, Klein ISD officials called the threats a “social media hoax,” but said police and administrators will remain diligent throughout the week.
Katy ISD issued a statement Monday that read in part, "The District is aware of non-specific social media threats involving clowns that have been made towards some school districts in the Houston area. We assure you that Katy ISD Police is closely monitoring this matter and has found no evidence of any credible threats against our schools at this time. However, as an added safety measure, KISD PD will provide additional patrols across all campuses this week."
Sheldon ISD officials said in a Facebook post that “C.E. King” was mentioned in a threat posted on Instagram. They said additional security measures will be in place at both C.E. King Middle School and C.E. King High School. There were significant absences from both schools and some parents picked up their children out of fear from the threats.
On Friday, Westside High School sent a letter to parents about a threat posted on a Facebook page used by a group called “Aint Clownin Around.” That page has since been deactivated.
"This is Principal Stewart at Westside High School to inform you of an anonymous threat social media made against schools, including ours, which has been circulating in the region and in other states," the letter said. "We immediately notified (Houston Independent School District) police, and officers determined the threat was not credible. However, HISD police have assigned extra officers to patrol our campus as a precautionary measure."
The letter said visitor access was restricted Friday to only essential school staff, and extra HISD police officers were patrolling the campus.
A similar letter was also sent to parents of students at Northside High School, Tanglewood Middle School and the Spring Independent School District.
In a letter sent Friday to parents in the Bay City Independent School District, officials said a precautionary lockdown was enacted at Bay City High School and Cherry Elementary School because of the rumors.
Another social media page named seven schools in southeast Texas, apparently in connection with another threat, calling those locations "main targets." Police said they do not believe that the threat is credible.