A report yesterday from Waukegan Police Department notified residents that students at Greenwood Elementary School saw three clowns — possibly armed with a gun — that were threatening the students during recess. The students also report that one or more of the clowns said they would come back Friday to kill students. That student report has turned out to be false, according to police and school officials.
“It’s been determined the students (at Greenwood Elementary School) embellished the story of individuals dressed as clowns,” said Nick Alajakis, spokesman for the school district. “This was fueled by the national clown hysteria to the point they thought they saw clowns themselves.”
On the Waukegan Public School official Facebook page Wednesday at 4:47 p.m., the school district notified the community that students admitted that the story was fabricated, and what they actually saw were construction workers carrying tools at a nearby worksite. These students will be disciplined according to District policy.
Meanwhile, The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is taking proactive measures on individuals acting disorderly while wearing costumes or dressed as clowns, a new trend known as “creepy clown.” This new trend has caused an increase in reports across the nation of offenders wearing clown costumes while harassing or threatening members of the community.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced they will aggressively investigate anyone who dresses in a costume, wears a mask, disguises themselves, while making threats or acting disorderly toward others.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office School Safety Team has been communicating with all of the schools in our jurisdiction, providing safety reminders for students and staff. Sheriff’s deputies are conducting extra patrols at all schools in the sheriff’s office jurisdiction.
With Halloween approaching, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the community to be safe. The sheriff’s office will have extra deputies patrolling, while children are trick-or-treating. Sheriff’s detectives will provide additional monitoring of registered child sexual offenders, to ensure they are in compliance with the law, and not participating in trick-or-treating.
Sheriff Mark Curran said, “If you see something, say something – I can’t emphasize this enough! It’s imperative the community calls the sheriff’s office or their local police department if they feel anything is suspicious or out of the ordinary.”
Undersheriff Ray Rose said, “The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is being proactive in this matter, especially considering Halloween is right around the corner. We strongly discourage anyone from acting in a manner which alarms or disturbs others, whether in a costume or not.”
Some additional safety tips are:
• If you see someone acting suspiciously, whether they are wearing a costume or not, call the police
• Remind your children not to speak with strangers
• While trick-or-treating, ensure children are accompanied by adults
• Young adults trick-or-treating without parental supervision should always remain in groups
• Ensure children are wearing reflective clothing while trick-or-treating
• An adult should inspect all candy before it’s consumed
• Take extra time and drive safely while trick-or-treaters are out
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