Clowns armed with 'chainsaws' enter Dublin school
Students and teachers in a Dublin school were left terrified after a group of people dressed as clowns entered the grounds with what looked like a weapon.
Pranksters dressing up as clowns and roaming the streets is a new craze. The phenomenon, known as 'creepy clowns', started in the US and is spreading worldwide.
Staff at Newpark School in Blackrock called gardaí when three members of a Halloween promotion company showed up with a prop that onlookers say looked "identical" to a chainsaw.
It is understood that the three clowns, who came to hand out leaflets about a Halloween Horror attraction, were not given permission to approach students by school management.
One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Irish Independent her daughter was deeply shocked.
"She told me that at least one teacher was panicking," she said. "The level of hysteria among the students was shocking. One of the sixth-year students was screaming, telling everyone to stay indoors."
She added her daughter was left deeply upset by the incident and couldn't sleep when she got home that night.
"I just can't understand it," she added.
"First of all, how could they think about doing something like this to promote a show and how people dressed up as clowns with what looks like a chainsaw and a sledgehammer could get into a school."
The mother also said videos of the incident were now circulating among the students, which were now frightening their peers.
But she also called on the school to reconsider their security procedures following the incident.
In a letter to parents, school principal Derek Lowry said the clowns "entered the school campus without any authorisation" and that one of them "was carrying a prop that looked identical to a chainsaw".
He added that a number of second-years were "distressed" by the incident and asked parents whose children were upset by the incident to get in touch with them.
Mr Lowry also said school authorities had met with local gardaí after the scare and have been in contact with the promotion company involved.
It comes as several horror movie-themed attractions open across Ireland ahead of Halloween.
School management were unavailable for comment when contacted by the Irish Independent.
Gardaí have said the incident is a civil matter and they will therefore not be investigating.
It comes as pranksters dressed as evil clowns terrorise unsuspecting passers-by across the world. Videos of clowns supposedly armed with bloodied weapons have gone viral across the world, notably across the United States and in Britain.
The trend has spread ahead of Halloween. Creepy clowns are a well-known horror trope, made famous by Stephen King's novel 'It', which was later produced as a movie in 1990.