The "creepy clown" craze that has sparked concern across the country has come to Turlock. Two girls were knocked down in a Turlock corn maze on Friday and scared by individuals wearing clown masks and a student's 'creepy clown' threat resulted in suspension.
The creepy clown trend first started gaining national attention in August when several unconfirmed reports began surfacing about people dressed as scary looking clowns doing odds things around the area, including attempting to lure children into the woods. From there, more reports began to surface in other states and the craze was gaining momentum. Many of the reports have been hoaxes, but some people have been arrested and are facing various criminal charges.
On Thursday, the Turlock Unified School District received one unconfirmed report of a clown sighting in town and had been monitoring several social media sites with posts regarding "clowning."
By Friday the District, along with the Turlock Police Department, had identified a student who made a "creepy clown" threat to a specific Turlock school. The student was suspended and is facing expulsion, said TUSD Superintendent Dana Salles-Trevethan.
"The student posed as a 'creepy clown' and posted a threat to one of our schools," Trevethan said. "We take such actions very seriously, particularly at a time when uncertainty and fears have been heightened among our students, parents and staff."
The District stated any social media post that threatened a specific school or student would be considered terrorist threats and the person who posted it would face the subsequent consequences.
On Friday night two girls reported been knocked down in the R.A.M. Farms corn maze, located on Daubenberger Road, said the farm's owner/operator Ron Macedo. The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department responded to the farm, but those responsible were not identified, according to Macedo. He also said that people reported being scared by individuals wearing scary clown masks and a number of those masks were confiscated.
Macedo said that the farm was aware of the recent creepy clown scares and "took every measure possible" to prevent such incidents from happening by having additional security on site and increased staff members throughout the corn maze. He said going forward, they would limit the number of kids allowed in the corn maze at one time.
Turlock Police Department discourages residents from participating in the creepy clown craze. If anyone sees something suspicious, they should report it by calling dispatch at 209-668-1200 or 911 if it is an emergency situation.
- Kristina Hacker contributed to this report.