AUSTIN - Uniformed patrol officers with Austin ISD will be making extra patrols after the latest clown threat.
All Austin ISD high school and middle school campuses have school resource officers, but patrol officers will make high-profile appearances at the campuses mentioned in a Facebook post Sunday night.
A poster wrote that he planned to visit a list of schools and gave the dates, including Oct. 3 at O. Henry Middle School.
"It says 'I'll be dressed as one of you getting to know and your peers, I will not be alone,'" said David Phillips, reading the post. "It's a creepy clown."
Phillips, who has triplet daughters attend O. Henry, said the threats are on everyone's minds.
"From my wife this morning, called and said there's been some concern and she's heard from her friends, around social media," said Phillips.
Phillips added he thinks the post is a hoax, but he didn't want authorities taking any chances.
"...with any threat you have to take somewhat seriously...I want them to do what it is they are suppose to do to keep my kids safe," said Phillips.
Hoax or not, Austin ISD Police Chief Eric Mendez said they are taking the threat seriously.
"We utilize our patrol officers to go by the named schools as much as possible, do the exterior patrols, parking lots, the athletic fields near there," said Mendez.
Other campuses listed on the Facebook post: Kealing and Martin Middle Schools, Austin, LBJ, Reagan, Eastside, Bowie, Travis and McCallum High Schools in Austin. Pflugerville and Hendrickson High Schools and Del Valle High School also made the list. Hays CISD and Manor ISD received threats last week.
Authorities are now monitoring social media sites and looking at the digital fingerprints from the threats. Austin Police Department's Austin Regional Intelligence Center is helping.
Vice President of Intelligence for Stratfor Fred Burton told KVUE more of these threats are expected because of the nature of social media and media coverage. The former FBI and Secret Service agent said he is sure authorities will track down the culprit or culprits soon.
"These kinds of threats in our day and age need to be taken seriously in light of school shootings that have occurred until proven otherwise," said Burton.
Reports of unusual clown sightings started in South Carolina in August. Stories of clowns offering children money to lure them into the woods then spread to other states, eventually morphing into threats on social media.
AISD Police also said teachers, staff and students have been told to be on lookout for anything suspicious and report it immediately.
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