Schools on ‘high alert’ following clown post: No specific threat, location offered

Published 11:14 am Thursday, October 6, 2016


Cumberland County Public Schools were put on high alert Thursday following a suspicious post on Instagram discovered by school administrators Wednesday.

“We’re not on an official lockdown or anything,” said Division Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin.

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According to Griffin, the alert comes after parents and students contacted the division “about this post that had been put on Instagram by an individual called Doodletheclown. And on Doodletheclown’s Instagram page, there’s a picture of a clown. And … the statement that Doodletheclown makes, has changed a couple times, because I guess the person edits it.”

On Doodletheclown’s Instagram page, an image accompanying the text portrays a person wearing a red and white polka dotted suit with a mask on, holding red and blue balloons.

It’s changed from “‘I hope Cumberland is ready next week. Doodle, doodle do.’ And, at one time, it said, ‘I hope Cumberland, Virginia is ready next week. Doodle, doodle do.’”

Griffin said the post changed back to Cumberland without Virginia. On Thursday morning, the post only mentioned Cumberland.

She said a separate post mentions Groveport, Ohio. “There is a Cumberland, Ohio,” she said, adding that the person could have meant another Cumberland in the United States.

A digital alert was sent to parents Wednesday, and Griffin said the division will send a letter to parents Thursday.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the reports.

“It didn’t specifically say Cumberland County Public Schools. And it doesn’t specifically give a specific threat either,” Griffin said.

All of Cumberland’s schools are locked from the outside, she said, and anyone entering has to be admitted by staff through the security system. “Our staff, they’re all on alert,” she said, adding that the division was being sensitive to the matter.

More law enforcement officers will patrol the schools, Griffin said.

Griffin said there was no end time for the alert. “We’re not sure whether (the post) is talking about this week or next week … I think we’re going to be on this mode pretty much for the next week or two.”

While Griffin thinks the post is a hoax, she said the division was taking the matter “very seriously. Because we have to be safe.”