After 32 years as a public educator, I never thought that I would be writing a note about clowns scaring people, but I also never thought 32 years ago about being able to type something that thousands of people could read on a computer, or make a phone call that went out to thousands of people at once.
This epidemic of the scariness of the clowns via the news media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is an issue that the school district takes seriously, primarily because it is impacting the ability of children to focus and learn, which is our core mission here at school.
You can help us by being sensitive to your children’s concerns and assuring them, as you can, that you do all you can to keep them safe at home and that the school district does all it can to keep them safe when they are with us. Much of these news stories have undocumented rumors and innuendo, and we know that there have been Internet threats made via posts by a Clowny Bobby or under other pseudonyms, in fact, just up the road in Prophetstown.
But please know this– should someone come onto any of our school grounds, dressed in a manner to scare children or adults, or try any type of communication that is threatening, intimidating, or intended to frighten or harm children or adults– we will file whatever formal complaint is necessary to move charges to be filed. Mr. Haugse and I often talk about how we sometimes hear adults tell us, “They were just students playing a prank.” Too often these so called pranks are actually vandalism, or in the cases of these clown incidents, blatant intimidation and harassment.
So for those of you with younger students, please talk to your children and reassure them that many adults are vigilant in trying to keep them safe from harm. And if you have older children, who have access to social media, this is a great time to let them know to exercise good judgment– encouraging this “clownish” behavior or inviting clowns onto our campus will result in consequences for those students inciting such nonsense.
We all want this Homecoming Weekend to be a memorable one for our students and the many alumni who will be returning to our school community. May we quickly return to a focus of a mission to Teach-Learn-Care; and comforting frightened students at this time fits right into that mission. We appreciate your engagement with this at home, and we will do our best to do right by your children at our schools.
Should you see or hear any issues of concern, please contact your school office or call the Central Office at (309)-945-0450.
Scott Kuffel, Superintendent