ST. LOUIS, MO. - From St. Charles to St. Louis County, and out to Belleville, Ill., local school districts and police departments are taking extra precautions after so-called 'creepy clown' threats.
Over the weekend, social media threats circulated, naming specific schools and threatening violence against students and teachers.
They appear to be connected to the national trend of creepy clown threats and sightings.
The cop cars on campus at Lawson Elementary School in Florissant, and other area schools, are on clown watch.
But this so-called 'creepy clown hoax' is no laughing matter.
“To me it's sick. That's all I got to say. Sick,” said Crystal Elam, who had trouble getting her second and fifth graders to go to school today.
“They thought that somebody was going to come into the school and do something to them,” said Elam.
Facebook and Instagram threats spread like wildfire over the weekend, suggesting people dressed up like clowns were planning violence at specific schools.
It's seemingly tied to the national fad, reports of clown sightings and threats.
Although there's no known violence attributed to them, Florissant Police, along with other metro police departments and school districts are on high alert.
“Not only do we have officers inside the schools but we're having regular patrols outside the schools as well,” said Officer Craig DeHart, with Florissant Police.
So far, authorities say they're not aware of any clown sightings locally.
Some school officials believe the threats could just be copy-cat kids trying to disrupt school. Whatever the case, police must respond.
“We could definitely be using our resources to do something else other than having the extra patrol in the schools and then keeping an eye out for people running around in clown outfits,” said DeHart.
Meanwhile, Elam, got her kids to school with a special lunch and, “we prayed first before we left our house”.
Five on Your Side wanted to know what parents should say to their young children who may be afraid to go to school now.
A counselor for the Ferguson-Florissant District tells us children respond to the emotions of the adults around them, so parents should speak calmly to their kids about the issue, limit the details and reassure them school is a safe place.
(© 2017 KSDK)