East Tenn. student arrested for making fake clown threat

An East Tennessee student is facing charges after authorities say she made a fake Facebook account and made clown-related threats to try and lock down a high school. 

Authorities were notified Tuesday night about threats that told Cumberland Gap High School students not to go to school because "clowns are coming to your school just giving you a heads up we are shooting it up.”

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray, investigators, and patrol officers carefully searched the school and perimeter Wednesday morning. 

According to Claiborne County Schools, attendance was down at the high school and several left after hearing about the social media rumors. 

Investigators found the source of the threats Wednesday morning and discovered it came from a Claiborne County student who wanted to create a lockdown at the high school. 

Authorities arrested the juvenile female and seized electronic devices. 

She is charged with disruption of a meeting or procession and is set to appear in Claiborne County juvenile court on Sept. 28. 

Other East Tennessee schools have seen similar threats this week. 

Two students in Chattanooga were charged after making threats against a middle and high school. 

Knox County Schools director of public affairs, Carly Harrington, told 10News they are aware of threats made on social media and are working with law enforcement to maintain a safe and secure learning environment. 

The Knoxville Police Department issued a statement Wednesday saying it's aware of posts reporting alleged sightings of clowns and that some people have gone so far as to "stage" pictures in clown suits. 

Authorities said they are taking threats seriously and are investigating "reported sightings."  

"We will also take appropriate action on anyone caught reporting false incidents or who is caught acting in a dangerous or threatening manner to the public or who is caught trying to disrupt the daily activities of businesses, schools, or public spaces," the KPD statement said. 

The response comes following recent claims in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia that clowns had been luring kids into the woods. Authorities have determined some of those reports were made up.  

The Coffee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report of a teenager being attacked by a clown earlier this week. The teen reportedly said a man dressed in a red hoodie and a clown mask assaulted him. 

Authorities are investigating the accuracy of the report, according to The Tennessean.

“People in Tennessee carry guns and somebody jumping out and scarring someone is subject to getting shot," Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said Wednesday.

Graves said anyone found scaring people and hurting people will be arrested and said anyone who files a false report can be prosecuted.

The Tennessean contributed to this report


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