A flood of social media posts that surfaced in recent days threatening attacks on Philadelphia schools by clowns — some of which named specific schools — prompted Philadelphia police and the city school district to investigate.
The district and police on Sunday released a joint statement saying that the unnerving posts, some of which named Philadelphia schools as targets in attacks to be carried out by clowns in the coming days, are being taken seriously.
"The School District of Philadelphia's Office of School Safety alerted both the Philadelphia Police Department and the Office of Homeland Security Saturday upon learning of these disturbing social media posts," the statement read in part. "The safety of our children and the communities surrounding our schools is a top priority for us, and we are taking this matter seriously."
Authorities said similar posts have surfaced in a number of other states, but they're actively investigating those in Philadelphia and "pursuing those responsible for them."
Reports of clown sightings across the country surfaced in recent weeks, including several in the Philadelphia area and surrounding counties.
Police in northeastern Pennsylvania about two weeks ago said they were investigating in Pottsville after receiving a report that a 12-year-old girl and her friends were chased by a clown, who then threw a stick at them and yelled obscenities before running back into the woods. Last week in Reading, police said a 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death after someone in a clown mask may have provoked a confrontation.
Reports of clown sightings have also surfaced in Lower Macungie, Easton, and New Jersey over the last several weeks.