Yakima Police say "no more clowning around" - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Police say "no more clowning around"

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YAKIMA, WA - The creepy clown phenomenon is sweeping the nation, and now it's hitting close to home, causing an entire school district to close down.

A high school in Highland, Pasco schools, and two schools in Yakima were the target of individual threats. Now law enforcement is working to find the people or person responsible.

"We believe this all to be part of a hoax that started a couple of weeks ago," said Mike Bastinelli, spokesman for the Yakima Police Department. "I think it has been all across the country, but we have to take it seriously."

One of the first threats was made at Highland High School, with someone claiming they were going to "kill all the little kids".

The threat prompted the entire school district to shut down for Wednesday.

Detective Mike Russell with the Yakima Sheriff's Office says they're currently investigating this case.

"Preliminary information suggests that these posts were made on social media from another part of the country," said Russell. "We still do not have any credible information to suggest that these students at the Highland School District or in Yakima are in danger."

After that threat, more directed at other schools made their way onto social media.

Targets included Pasco schools, Lewis and Clark Middle School, and Davis High School.

These threats did not cause any school closures, but did result in absences: 4,000 in the Yakima School District alone, which is nearly a fourth of the students enrolled in the entire district.

It also prompted changes for the Yakima School District...banning all clown costumes.

"The biggest thing is to ease the concern of the parents," said Bastinelli. "I understand a lot of parents kept their kids home from school today and we don't want that to happen, we want kids to be in school."

At the moment, the Yakima Police Department is interviewing two suspects and the Yakima Sheriff's Office is investigating one person outside the state of Washington.

Even though people have been shaken by these threats, law enforcement wants people to know that they are being vigilant doing what they can to assure people are and stay safe.

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