Halloween is usually a fun, harmless holiday but this year it has a new feeling. Earlier this month, a 12-year-old student at MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing wore a clown mask and brought two knives to school. Police say the student admitted that she was trying to scare people.
Although officials do not believe the student was a threat to any other people, the East Lansing School District has decided to ban all Halloween masks because of the incident. Banning these accessories, however, does not reassure parents with the safety of their children.
“Banning all masks does not address the real issue for the EL incident,” said Laura Haskel Peterson, a mother of two boys in the school district. “The obvious concern with that situation is that a 12-year-old thought it was okay to scare people with knives and then was able to get knives out of their home and into their school. Banning all masks is an over-reaction and does nothing to increase student safety.”
Clown sightings have been on the rise and are expected to increase with Halloween coming up police say. Sightings began in Greenville, South Carolina, and have spread from state to state and now to East Lansing. According to students, no one is laughing at clowns anymore.
“If I see a clown, I will actually run the other way,” said Rachel Houtteman, a sophomore at Michigan State. “I think it’s a bad idea to dress like a clown since so many people are scared of the clown sightings and we don’t know if it’s a joke or a threat.”
This is not the first time East Lansing has seen clowns. Earlier this month, Michigan State students reported clown sightings outside of Wilson Halls cafeteria and other dormitories on campus. MSU Police got involved and discovered that the whole thing was a hoax. There was never any clown sightings that the police are aware of but they are still keeping an eye out for suspicious clown activity, especially with Halloween coming up.
“There’s no doubt that we will see many clowns this weekend,” said Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth, the Public Information Officer at the East Lansing Police Department. “Unless there is suspicious activity or weapons involved, we cannot do anything about the clowns.”