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Schools ban clown costumes amid investigation

October 04, 2016 - 4:30 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A school district is banning clown costumes and any "symbols of terror" during this year's Halloween season as authorities investigate the authenticity of clown-related social media posts.

New Haven Public School officials said principals and building leaders have been requested to ban the costumes until additional information is available.

This comes amid an investigation involving police into an account on the photo-sharing social media site Instagram. The account uploaded four photos showing menacing-looking clowns with captions telling several area schools to "watch out" and "wait and see" whether the threats are fake.

New Haven's school superintendent, Garth Harries, said Tuesday the posts have been disruptive to learning and to the school's sense of security.

"There is no question that whoever is promulgating this is making threats," Harries said. "We don't believe there is any credible threat of violence, but they are still making people uncomfortable."

Police said any threat deemed credible could be prosecuted under a new state law that makes a tangible threat against a school a felony. Officer David Hartman said the Instagram posts do not meet that threshold.

"We're not going to shut schools down for this stuff," he said.

Harries said there was a minor incident at a middle school, where an administrator confiscated a clown mask from a group of students he said were "horsing around."

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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