PARK TOWNSHIP, MICH. - New concerns about clown activity on social media are prompting local school districts to take action.
Late on Thursday, Grandville Police say they've identified a teenager posting fake threats on social media against schools in that community.
Two Ottawa County districts are dealing with similar posts. School leaders say they're stepping up security measures.
We talked to one lakeshore parent so concerned that she kept her kids out of school on Thursday.
It's not like a case of 'The Mondays' or playing hooky. There's a different reason Searra Cahoon didn't go to school at West Ottawa High School on Thursday.
"I go to school every single day, I don't skip classes," says Cahoon.
However, on Wednesday she says she found disturbing information from various clown accounts on social media directed toward several West Ottawa schools.
"The actual Instagram page of the clown people, they said they were going to my school, Harbor Lights, Macatawa Bay," says Cahoon.
"My daughter was freaking out," says Jamie Maynard, Searra's mother.
Maynard agreed with her daughter. The two of them even called the police non-emergency line on Wednesday.
Then Maynard made another decision.
"I kept all my kids home, people might think I'm crazy for it," says Maynard. "With a clown epidemic, I almost feel my kids were threatened."
On Thursday morning, we found a patrol vehicle outside Holland High School which was also mentioned in one of the clown accounts on Wednesday. According to an online statement, school leaders put all buildings on alert with established procedures on how to respond.
West Ottawa school leaders sent us an email saying they have practiced response plans as well.
Holland police say they've been in contact with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department about the concerns over clown activity. However, they say at this point they don't have reason to believe there is a legitimate threat to students.
"We haven't seen any concern of safety with sending kids to school," says Captain Keith Mulder, with the Holland Department of Public Safety.
We asked Capain Mulder if he understands why parents like Maynard are concerned.
"Oh absolutely, anytime the schools are involved and safety of kids are involved there is a heightened concern and there should be," says Captain Mulder.
Holland police say they also received reports of possible clown sightings elsewhere in the city on Wednesday, but did not locate anyone.
"My kids are safe, they're at home, and until this is taken care of they probably won't be going back to school," says Maynard.
"I don't deal with them clowns," says Cahoon.
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