What began as clown jokes ended with teens from several different school districts being questioned by police for making online threats.
A 13-year-old student at Utley Middle School in Rockwall is the latest teen to be accused of making an online clown threat. Police said her post named several students, including herself, as targets of a clown-related school shooting.
"Supposedly the clown was going to show up to Utley Middle School yesterday around 12:30 and was going to take care of people on that hit list," said Sgt. Jeff Welch with the Rockwall Police Department. "She did seem remorseful and take back that she caused this much trouble and anxiety in the community."
The girl is now charged with making a terroristic threat, even though she claimed she was only trying to stop any "real" clowns from attacking her school.
A 14-year-old Mansfield student faces similar charges after police said he made a threat from a clown-themed Twitter page called 'MTX Killer Clown.' It has since been taken down.
About the same time, a student in River Oaks was questioned by police for yet another threat. Lieutenant Chuck Stewart with River Oaks Police Department said it was a 16-year-old girl from Castleberry High School.
Stewart said the student sent her friend who doesn't like clowns a Twitter message late Sunday night. She said the message was meant to be a joke from a fake clown-themed account.
"I have decided to shoot up Castleberry High School we are aware that students are not having school on Monday so we will be showing up some day this week stay aware," it said.
"It has to be treated as a serious matter," Stewart explained. "[She] Deleted her account immediately after sending the tweet. And at that point, her friend had already passed it out to everybody who passed it out to all their friends, and it pretty much went viral at that point."
That's when the girl realized how serious it had become and told her parents, who immediately brought her in to confess to the principal and police. However, she wasn't arrested and has not yet been charged with a crime.
Stewart said kids need to realize these clown threats are no laughing matter.
"Joking is one thing. But at the point, you start threatening students at a school or violence at a school shooting," he said. "That's taken very seriously."
The River Oaks Police Department will be referring the case to the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office, which will determine if the girl will face charges.
In the Mansfield case, the 14-year-old boy was taken to the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center.
Several North Texas school districts investigated threatening 'creepy clown' threats made against the districts on social media on Monday. Dallas, Garland, Richardson, Saginaw and Richardson school districts looked into the messages and determined they were hoaxes.