Quit Clowning Around


Clarion photo Anna Rollins

It’s no lie that clown sightings have become a regular in the national news recently. Ever since the epidemic spread to Oregon a few weeks ago, PPS, as well as other school districts in the state, have been on high alert. With threats of clowns coming to schools worrying both parents and students alike, just how much should we be concerned about clowns?

This insurgence of clowns isn’t just a Halloween craze hitting most of the country. Starting in late August, the first clown sighting was linked to a little boy who told his mom in South Carolina that two clowns near the woods were trying to get him to follow them. From there, the clown sightings grew like wildfire, some going as mild as dressing up as a clown to chasing people around. These sightings even caused a school district in Ohio to close its doors for a day after a woman was attacked by a clown.

“It started off as a friendly joke and got a life of its own,” said Dan Ellis, Cleveland security guard. “Everybody started running with it and doing what they pleased.” But this “friendly joke” appeared in the city of roses in no time. It all started with a woman being approached by a clown who was banging on her windows and trying to open doors while she was driving downtown. Since then, clowns have been seen chasing citizens, as well as jumping out in traffic, and simply going to Subway.

For the most part, the Portland Police Bureau doesn’t seem too concerned with the increased sightings. “In Portland, where Darth Vader rides a unicycle and has a fire-breathing set of bagpipes, clown sightings might just be an average Tuesday,” said Sgt. Pete Simpson, in an Oregonian story. It should be noted that a large amount of these sightings have been fake, with people calling in a sighting and then later admitting that it was a lie. However, police still respond to calls made if it sounds like a clown is disturbing the peace.

That doesn’t make the situation any lighter for Portland Public Schools. On Thursday morning, Oct. 13, the district emailed the principal and vice principals at Cleveland and every other school in the district to be on the lookout for anyone with a clown mask. “People have the legal right to express themselves. That’s a constitutional right,” said Vice Principal Katie Wagner. “I understand if people want to put masks on and dress up in costumes. However, it becomes a concern when that action is intended to cause harm to other people.”

So far, there haven’t been any sightings of clowns at Cleveland, and it is hoped it will stay that way. When asked about what he thought of the clown epidemic, senior Conor Bergin had this to say, “It’s creeping me out. If I see a clown, I’m definitely heading the other way. The whole concept seems pretty stupid to me and I feel bad for the real clowns.”

If we are lucky, this clown epidemic will end soon, before someone ends up getting seriously hurt.