Youngstown-area schools working with police amid clown scares

Districts including Youngstown, Austintown, Campbell and Boardman are working with local law enforcement

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Recent clown hoaxes and attacks have been generating a lot of buzz across the country, and now they’re beginning to happen in the Youngstown area.

An Instagram account called “Youngstown Clowns” has a list of schools it says the clowns will go to. That list includes schools in Youngstown, Campbell, Boardman and Austintown.

Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip says he saw the online post.

“I guess it could be interpreted several different ways but the context of the clowns being in other parts of Ohio, it’s something we’re going to take seriously. We’re not just going to say, ‘Oh that’s a joke.'”

While these incidents are happening more often, the men and women who dress up as real clowns say it’s giving them negative publicity and needs to stop.

The Aut Mori Grotto Clowns love making people laugh. They are part of the circus and do philanthropy work with Akron Children’s Hospital.

“We’re here to put a smile on people’s face,” Ron Craig, also known as “Monarch,” said. “That’s my life.”

Now, Craig’s passion is getting a bad reputation with the reports of clown attacks and hoaxes.

“Naturally, we have concerns because we’re not involved and there’s always impersonators out there,” he said. “If they’re doing bad, we don’t want to be affiliated with them at all.”

A big concern for him is getting pulled over while he’s driving.

“We all have identifications. We have badges, and cards and that, so we’re legit.”

Youngstown City Schools reached out to police over the weekend.

“In talking with my chief of security and with the chief of the Youngstown Police Department, they have been investigating, they don’t feel that the threats are credible at this time,” Mohip said.

In the meantime, the Aut Mori Grotto Clowns want all of this to stop because they say it’s not what being a clown is all about.

“Just love one another. No matter what color, just love one another,” Craig said.

The other schools on the Youngstown Clowns’ list are also working with police and school resource officers.

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