Chief Michael P. Murphy
150 Park St.
North Reading, MA 01864
North Reading Public School District
Jon Bernard, Superintendent
189 Park S.
North Reading, MA 01864
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
North Reading Police, Schools Address Nationwide Clown Scare
NORTH READING – Police Chief Michael P. Murphy and Superintendent Jon Bernard report that the North Reading Police Department and North Reading Public Schools are addressing the nationwide scare tactic involving people dressed as clowns threatening to harm others.
In August, parents in South Carolina were alarmed after a group of people dressed as clowns were reported as trying to lure children into the woods. Since then, numerous sightings of individuals in clown face paint and outfits, often times wielding weapons or acting suspicious, have been reported throughout the country.
Last week, a nationwide threat was made over Twitter targeting schools by a clown-related group. Although the threat has passed, the police department is actively monitoring any suspicious related activity in and around North Reading public schools. On Tuesday night, a Merrimack College dormitory in North Andover was evacuated after someone reported seeing an individual, dressed as a clown and carrying a weapon.
Similar incidents have been reported in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia, Canada.
While no specific threat to North Reading has emerged as a result of the social media activity, North Reading School Resource Officer Sean O’Leary will continue to maintain a presence at all schools throughout the district. In addition, North Reading police are coordinating with state and federal law enforcement partners.
“The North Reading Police Department is committed to the safety of our community above all else,” Chief Murphy said. “We encourage any student who sees or hears of anything alarming to report it immediately.”
“We remain vigilant in our schools to promote safety and security, and we work diligently with our local police department to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Superintendent Bernard said. “To date, no information has surfaced in our schools, but we will continue to monitor this situation and remain in contact with the North Reading Police Department to address any concerns.”