Statement on Clown Hoax in Des Moines

As you may have heard, a hoax involving clowns is being spread across the country on social media, from unsubstantiated “sightings” of creepy clowns to non-credible threats of violence. Because of the attention this is getting, both on social media and in the news media, there will no doubt be copycats who perpetuate this hoax.

To be clear, DMPS takes any threat made against a school very seriously. When it comes to the clown hoax, however, there have been absolutely no credible threats made to any of schools in Des Moines. But what started out as a social media hoax, wasting a lot of time and resources, will turn into something much more serious for anyone who perpetuates this hoax or participates in pranks related to it that threaten or harass.

The Des Moines Police Department has announced that they plan to take any future clown pranks, or threats made on social media related to this clown hoax, as seriously as they would any other report of harassment or threat. This means the perpetrator may be located, charged, possibly jailed, and could end up in court. 

If the threat involves a school, the legal consequences are even more serious, and will also result in serious school disciplinary action if it involves a student.

DMPS strongly urges parents to talk with your student about the risks associated with participating in this hoax. Not only the legal risks, but the real risk of bodily harm that may come from someone in the community mistaking a prank as a serious threat.

We also encourage parents to talk with your student if they are afraid, or concerned about their safety at school. Again, this is a hoax and there have been no credible threats related to this hoax made against any of our schools. But, if there is ever any kind of threat to student safety, your student’s school, the school district and police department all act swiftly to keep everyone safe.

Thank you for your assistance with keeping our schools safe, and everyone focused on learning.