Education

Schools to kids: No clown costumes on Halloween

Vanessa Concepcion reacts with sadness after getting her face painted as a clown at the office of Silly Farm Supplies in Davie, Fla. She feels that clowning is a proud profession that has been hurt badly by these creepy clown episodes, on Tuesday October 18, 2016.
Vanessa Concepcion reacts with sadness after getting her face painted as a clown at the office of Silly Farm Supplies in Davie, Fla. She feels that clowning is a proud profession that has been hurt badly by these creepy clown episodes, on Tuesday October 18, 2016. pportal@miamiherald.com

The national clown scare is putting a damper on students at some Sacramento area schools wearing clown costumes for Halloween on Monday.

Five middle schools in the Elk Grove Unified School District have asked their students not to wear clown costumes – or masks of any kind, said spokeswoman Xanthi Pinkerton.

Two high schools have echoed the no-clown request, she said. School administrators decide costume policies on campus by campus basis.

“It’s the current situation,” Pinkerton said. “That could change next year. They could all be wearing clown costumes next year.”

The Elk Grove district sent letters earlier this month to parents informing them of Instagram clown posts threatening area campuses.

The Sacramento City Unified School District this week asked parents to think carefully about whether their children should wear costume choices that could lead to negative consequences. The underlying message: Choose hob goblins, scary ghosts and witches over creepy clowns, which have elevated public fears about costume wearers with fiendish motives.

“As you’ve probably read, people dressed like creepy clowns have been assaulted in some places across the country,” reads one of the messages on the district’s website. The message warns that school neighbors could call police “if they see someone dressed like a creepy clown headed to a school on Halloween.”

Gabe Ross, spokesman, said the district is strongly discouraging the clown costumes. And in most cases, he said, it’s a moot point because most kids are under a no-mask policy on Halloween anyway.

“We’re aware that there have been incidents throughout the country of people dressed like clowns,” he added. Even if the costumes are intended as lighthearted, people can perceive them as threats, he said, “and there have been safety concerns for those wearing suits.

“We wanted to remind parents and kids that even if they think they’re doing something harmless, we want to avoid any unintended consequences.”

In the San Juan Unified School District, some schools do anticipate students on Monday wearing Halloween costumes. But district spokeswoman Raj Rai said those schools have not issued any changes in policies from prior years.

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