Police charge student over Instagram posts

PROSPECT — A Long River Middle School student was arrested Wednesday over what has become an increasing trend of social media posts involving menacing clowns.

On Wednesday, students at Long River, which is the middle school for Region 16 and serves children in Beacon Falls and Prospect, informed administrators of Instagram posts made Tuesday night involving clowns and threats, police said.

The posts made no specific threat of violence toward any student or school, police said. However, police said, the posts caused alarm and referenced schools in Prospect, Beacon Falls, Waterbury and New Haven.

Police did not release what the posts said.

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said at least three posts were made and some had pictures of Long River.

Police determined the account belonged to a 13-year-old student from Beacon Falls. The student was charged with disorderly conduct and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Juvenile Court on Oct. 20.

Yamin said Beacon Falls police were also called Wednesday to investigate social media posts made by a Woodland Regional High School student. He said the student posted three photos of clowns on social media, but no threats were made. The status of this investigation is unclear.

Yamin said the district has taken appropriate disciplinary action against both students. He added that with Halloween coming up he has asked that students not dress up as clowns for school-related activities.

Yamin said he is proud of way the incidents were handled by police and administrators.

“We will remain vigilant for the safety of our schools and children,” he said.

Incidents involving “creepy clowns” posts are increasing around the country and state.

The incidents at Long River and Woodland came a day after two Instagram posts involving creepy clowns, one of which referenced Naugatuck schools, led to a heightened police presence at borough schools on Tuesday.

Naugatuck police arrested two girls, who are both under the age of 14, Tuesday in connection with posting the message that mentioned the schools.

One mother told Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata she kept her children home Tuesday as police investigated the message. Others discussed whether to keep their children home on Facebook.

Cammarata said police weren’t posted at each Naugatuck school Wednesday, though they continued to make extra rounds near the schools.

Cammarata said the two girls didn’t intend their post to cause the panic that it did.

“They did it kind of as a prank,” he said, calling the incident “poor judgment.”

Police in Ansonia this week also charged two 13-year-old girls with making threats toward schools there on social media that included clown references.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.