Addressing recent incidents in New Jersey and other states involving social media threats and some alleged sightings of people dressed as clowns, South Orange – Maplewood School District Superintendent Dr. John Ramos sought to reassure the community that the administration and local police are monitoring the issue and taking precautions to ensure the safety of students and staff.
“…we have been in contact with our local law enforcement partners,” wrote Ramos in an email sent Wednesday afternoon. “The police chiefs have assured us that officers are assigned to provide extra attention to ensure student and staff safety as they monitor the situation.”
Asked whether the district had received any specific threats, a district spokeswoman said, “At this point, we are not aware of a credible threat to SOMSD schools about this, but there have been threats in surrounding communities. We consulted with both police departments, and decided to inform the community so they know we are aware and paying attention. The police departments both volunteered to have officers observe schools even more than usual, just as a precaution.”
The spokeswoman said community members should report any suspicious social media postings, “‘weird clown sightings,’ or anything that might warrant investigation.
West Orange High School recently responded to an anonymous post on Instagram from someone calling themselves “Bobby the Clown,” who posted a photo of the school and wrote, “this school is next hahaha.” The superintendent assured parents police were investigating the matter, and the school has apparently received no further threats.
The Village Green has reached out to the Maplewood and South Orange Police Departments for further information.
Here is the full text of the email from Dr. Ramos:
Dear SOMSD Community,
You may have seen recent media reports of “clown threats,” including on high school and college campuses across the country.
All of our administrators are aware of the issue and we have been in contact with our local law enforcement partners. The police chiefs have assured us that officers are assigned to provide extra attention to our schools to ensure student and staff safety as they monitor the situation.
If you see anything suspicious, please contact the appropriate police department or call 911.
South Orange Maplewood School District