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Philly Police, School District Respond To Reports Of Scary Clown Threats

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Police are actively investigating a series of "scary clown threats" that have surfaced on social media, specifically mentioning schools in the Philadelphia School District.

The school district issued a joint statement with police explaining the threats have also been made known to the Office of Homeland Security.

"The safety of our children and the communities surrounding our schools is a top priority for us and we are taking this matter seriously," the statement reads. "The SDP Office of School Safety will continue working in concert with the PPD to ensure the safety of our children and our schools when school reopens on Wednesday after the holiday break."

While neither police or district officials identify what specific threats are being investigated, an Instagram account @philly_clowns215 says "they'll" be at several schools Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, taking into account district schools have off for Rosh Hashanah.

Officials from the School District of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said they're now working with police to get to the bottom of these posts, but some families are still choosing to keep their children home from school.
"I don't know, I'm just nervous for my little sister and I don't think I'm going to send them to school that day, because I don't know if it's true," said Christopher LaMacchia, whose two younger sisters attend String Theory Charter School in Center City.
All of the posts come from accounts with the word clown in their names. They also feature photos of menacing looking clowns. 
"I'm definitely not sending my nephew to school tomorrow, because specifically the threat was against Neumann-Goretti," said Theresa Larizzio, of South Philadelphia. "My daughter goes to a different school so I'm not so sure. She wants to stay home because she's afraid."
Brendan Lee, executive director of school safety for the School District of Philadelphia,  said police are thoroughly investigating the posts and those behind them. 
"We can reassure [parents] that we know what's going on," he said. "We're partnering with Philly Police Department and we'll be ready for Wednesday morning and after that.
The city's public schools are closed until Wednesday for Rosh Hashanah.
Similar threats have been circulating in towns across the United States, including South Jersey and Cincinnati, Ohio where schools have been placed under lockdown and officials have had to cancel classes.

"While there have been similar social media posts regarding schools in other states and in Pennsylvania the PPD and the SDP remain in contact with Homeland Security and will continue to investigate local threats on social media."

Before threats to schools were being made, many states including Pennsylvania were dealing with reports of creepy clown sightings, some of which were allegedly trying to lure children into the woods. Some of the sightings reported by children were never confirmed by police.

As of now Philadelphia Police are taking the threats seriously and anyone with information is being asked to call the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-8477.

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