Superintendent Letter to Parents: ‘Creepy Clown’ Rumors in St. Louis
Dear MRH Families:
Stories and rumors have been circulating across the St. Louis region and around the country on the news and social media suggesting threatening actions by “creepy clowns.” The MRH School District has not been the subject of any specific or credible threat, and we want to assure you that your students are safe at school.
The safety of our students and staff is a top priority. In addition to our school resource officer and excellent relationships with the Maplewood and Richmond Heights Police Departments, the safety enhancements we have made at our schools (cameras, locked doors, monitored entrances) and the safety and intruder training required for all District staff help us maintain a safe and secure school environment. We are in contact with local authorities and emergency responders, even more so when we are monitoring an issue or concern, in order to be ready to take any action needed to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
Our school staff tries to dispel rumors among students, but it is difficult to stop them once they start, especially in the age of social media. We could really use your help with this. Please speak with your children and help us teach them not to spread rumors, especially those that can scare or harm other children. Rumors can be particularly scary to young students when an older sibling or friend shares them. This includes rumors spoken person to person and those shared on social media. It's important to teach children the value of finding factual information from credible sources, rather than believing everything they see on social media or hear from their peers.
We understand that students and families may be rattled by the national phenomena related to creepy clown stories and hoaxes. Parents can help allay fears by remaining calm, staying factual and talking with their children about their concerns. Here are some steps that can help:
- Remind your children that people who care about them are handling the situation - Schools and their police partners take threats to school safety seriously. School threats made on social media most often turn out to be hoaxes, but we will always investigate the threats and take necessary steps to protect our students and staff.
- Think before posting on social media - Verify information from a credible source before sharing rumors or threats on social media. Check with local police or school officials so that any information shared is accurate. Spreading rumors causes unnecessary alarm and heightens fears about school safety.
- If you see something, report it - The only way we can keep our schools safe is to work together. Teach your children to report odd or suspicious activity to a responsible adult, as well as any actual threats they see. It's important for this type of information to be shared with police and school officials.
- Talk to an adult - Encourage your child to talk to you if they are worried. They can also speak with their teacher or school counselor if something has them upset or anxious. If you have a concern about your children's emotions or behavior, please contact their school counselor.
We care deeply about your child's safety and will continue to do whatever we can to keep MRH schools safe and caring environments for our students to learn. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s building administrator.
Karen I. Hall
Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.