- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2016

At least five schools in the greater Cincinnati region canceled classes Friday after a woman reported being attacked overnight by a man dressed as a circus clown.

Police in Reading, Ohio said said they received a 911 call early Friday morning in which a local woman, Kim Youngblood, claimed to have been assaulted on her porch by a man in clown attire.

“I thought it was just a person that came up behind and grabbed me around the neck, and it turned out to be a person dressing as a clown,” Ms. Youngblood told dispatchers. “And the person was making threats against the Reading School District, and making threats against me telling me that he was going to kill me.”

“He said that there were going to be teachers and students who were going to be sorry that they were ever born,” she said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Reading School District said it takes “all threats to the safety of our students seriously,” and canceled classes Friday out of an abundance of caution. Ms. Youngblood victim was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

“We were especially concerned with the number of students who walk to school in the early morning hours and made the decision to close school. The district is working closely with the Reading Police on this matter,” the district said in a Facebook post.

A fifth area school, Mt. Notre Dame High School, was closed as well Friday, a local Fox affiliate reported.

Ms. Youngblood’s alleged early-morning encounter occurred hours after police in nearby Colerain Township police arrested a high school student accused of using the internet to issue clown-related threats to fellow students.

“This suspect used the current ‘clown’ trend to further terrorize parents and students and has been charged with Making Terrorist Threats and Inducing Panic,” police said.

Another area school on Friday said one of its students had been arrested as well for making social media threats involving clowns.

“The social media message was a copycat of the clown threats that have been becoming more frequent in our area and around the country. At no time were students and staff in any danger,” Milford High School principal Josh Kauffman said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Essentially he thought he was making some kind of joke, probably, on Twitter, and it’s not taken as a joke,” Miami [Ohio] Township Assistant Police Chief Mike Mills said at a Friday morning press conference, WLWT-TV reported. “It’s taken very seriously because there’s 2,000 students over there.”

The wave of clown-related incidents began in August when residents of Greenville County, South Carolina began reporting that individuals wearing clown costumes were attempting to lure local children into the woods. Similar stories have been reported in the weeks since across no fewer than ten states, and at least 12 people have been arrested recently for charges related to making false reports or threats involving clowns, the New York Times reported.

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