Creepy clown rumors are totally out of hand.
And school and law enforcement officials are reporting that parents are doing as much or more than their children to fan hysteria on social media.
The problem with all this is that all these comments are interrupting class time for some Coast students.
M.C. Barton, spokesperson for the Gulfport School District, said the principal at Gulfport High School had to investigate on Thursday student reports of a clown that was going to show up and do bad things. The principal got to the bottom of the rumors, which students spread by talking, and on their telephones via text and social media.
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“No one even saw the clown, that's the thing,” Barton said. “There have been no clown sightings.”
She added: “It's disruptive. You've got to call students out of class, call parents while they're at work.”
Superintendent Glen East and his assistant went to the high school Friday morning to assure parents it was safe to drop off their kids.
A clown reported Thursday at West Harrison High School also failed to materialize. This one even had a name: Chubbs the Clown.
Student resource officers patrolled the campus, keeping an eye out for Chubbs, Harrison County Superintendent Roy Gill said.
“People love to say things on social media just to stir things,” Gill said. “We haven't seen a clown around the school or anything.”
Sgt. Damon McDaniel of the Gulfport Police Department would love to know why people have started taking as fact comments on social media.
“Facebook is going to ruin this community because people report to Facebook as if its a fact source,” he said. “It’s not.”
“If there was a clown terrorizing people in Gulfport and committing crimes, we would report that.”
The bottom line, Barton said: “I think what we need to focus on is, if you hear something or if you see something, report it to your (school) administrator or police. Don't go directly to social media.”
She said it’s a conversation every parent needs to have with their child — and keep in mind themselves.