Child wearing clown mask caught with knives in her backpack at MacDonald Middle School
East Lansing Police say a 12-year-old girl was removed from MacDonald Middle School on Friday after she was wearing a clown mask and threatening her classmates, and had 2 knives in her backpack.
Officers says the first incident happened at the girl's bus stop in Meridian Township, where she was wearing the mask and running after other kids while holding two 8"-9" steak knives.
At school officers say the student was just wearing the mask but the knives were in her backpack
"Nobody was hurt in that incident and I don't know that she necessarily had any will to stab anybody, probably just using real knives to scare kids," said Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth with the East Lansing Police Department. "Pretty concerning call for a 12-year-old especially with all that's going on in the country with clowns and people being afraid of clowns."
Police interviewed the girl at the school with a parent present. East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robin Thompson would not say if the girl is suspended or for how long she will be out of school.
Police say the student could be charged with assault in Meridian Township and carrying a concealed weapon in East Lansing.
"We're working with Meridian Township, the probate courts, the school, and the parents to figure out what the appropriate charges will be in this case," Wriggelsworth said.
Shawn Heiler, who's daughter is in the sixth grade at MacDonald, said the timing of Friday's incident is all the more disturbing because the school is currently doing "Rachel's Challenge." It's a program aimed at preventing violence in schools, named for Rachel Scott, who was the first person killed in the Columbine shooting. Heiler says students at the middle school are supposed to be doing something nice for others every day.
"It's a crazy world now and I don't want my kids to grow up with the fear," Heiler said.
She added was especially upsetting for her daughter, who's been afraid an attack involving a clown might happen at school.
"She was afraid to go to school today," Heiler said. "She was plotting to stay home and also trying to figure out where to hide in each room if the clowns came to shoot up the school.
Heiler said she's happy the school is handling Friday's incident, but she hopes this leads to an important dialogue.
"I think the school needs to talk to the kids that this is not a joke, this is a serious matter," Heiler said. "Let them know that any threat to the school they're going to take it serious and tell the kids to stop talking about it in the classroom."
She says that would help students like her daughter feel safer at school.
"I just want them to happy and I want to hug her today because it's scary," Heiler added.
East Lansing Police say they've been getting a lot of calls about clown sightings. They're reminding people it's not illegal to dress as a clown and you should only call police if the person has a weapon or is committing a crime.
A 12-year-old girl was removed from MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing Friday after she was caught with steak knives in her backpack. Administrators searched the backpack after the girl was seen wearing a clown mask at school. East Lansing police tell WILX News the girl chased other kids with a knife at the bus stop earlier in the day. Nobody was hurt.
Police interviewed the girl at the school with a parent present. East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robin Thompson would not say if the girl is suspended or for how long she will be out of school. Police say she could be charged with assault in Meridian Township for chasing kids with a knife and charged with carrying a concealed weapon in East Lansing for having the two 8"-9" steak knives in her backpack. The girl has not been arrested. Stay with News 10 and wilx.com for updates on this story.