Not just clowning around


Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, has spread from children who are simply overwhelmed at a circus to the general public as reports of clown attacks continue.
These attacks, which began in late August, originated in South Carolina where clowns were spotted trying to lure children into the woods with promises of candy and money. Since then, violent clowns have become a national phenomenon and sightings have been reported, although few are taken seriously.
Most of the threats are aimed toward schools, where student safety is top priority, resulting in classes being cancelled and schools going on lockdown.
Rosa Park Middle School in Olney was one of these schools when threats from clowns were reported on social media on Oct. 3. Two days later, four 13-year-old males were arrested. According to a Montgomery County Police Department press release, “After being charged with making threats of mass violence, they were returned to the care and custody of their parents.”
The case has been passed to the Department of Juvenile Services.
Students here are recognizing that while some of these attacks are credible and should be taken seriously, the majority of them are not.
“While there have been some real attacks, they are not common and most of the threats are way overblown,” senior AJ Stanislaus said. “The attacks are mostly sensationalized because clowns are exciting and memorable. Not to mention coulrophobia is already a common thing so it’s easy to build off of the fear that is already there.”
The fear these clowns have spurred is, to some degree, justified, as there have been actual attacks including that of a 14-year-old boy in Columbus, Ohio who, according to NBC News, was on his way to school Tuesday morning when he was chased by a black-clad man wielding a knife and wearing a mask. The teenager was able to get away from the attacker by hurling a rock at him and running to a bus stop, where he was able to safely board.
Despite the fear they instill, the “creepy clowns” are doing some good by fueling the economy. The ever-popular Markoff’s Haunted Forest, which is currently updating their clown exhibit, making it scarier than ever, is expecting to do extremely well this year.
The clown attacks and threats have teens and parents alike wondering and worrying about how to keep their siblings and children safe on Halloween night, when someone in a clown mask could be either an innocent trick-or-treater or an attacker.


Shelby Ting

Front Page Editor