PHILADELPHIA, PA — A 13-year-old girl has been identified as the individual behind the clown threats on several Philadelphia schools made over the weekend, police confirmed on Monday afternoon.
The juvenile, who attends a local school, said that the incident was a “prank only” which she and her friend concocted and that they had no intent to harm anyone, according to authorities.
The messages posted on social media threatened school shootings and general violence. It’s not yet clear what, if any, charges would be pressed. Information has been sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review, authorities said.
“The Philadelphia Police Department and The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of School Safety and Federal Law Enforcement partners will continue working in collaboration to investigate these social media posts and to ensure the safety of our children, our schools and the surrounding communities,” police said in a statement.
Police and the school district said on Sunday that multiple schools within the district had been mentioned in various clown-related threats on social media. The threats came during a rash of bizarre clown-related incidents around the state and country. Individuals dressed as clowns have been reported acting suspiciously, attempting to lure children into the woods, peeking into windows, walking on roadsides and performing a variety of other odd behaviors.
Police added that they do not believe that these threats are directly connected to the numerous other reports of strange clown behavior around Pennsylvania in recent weeks. Local police have urged individuals to report any suspicious activity directly to local authorities and not to share social media posts, which may be false or misleading.
“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,” said Lee Whack, a spokesperson for the school district. “The safety of our children and the communities surrounding our schools is a top priority for us and we are taking this matter seriously.”