RACELAND, La. -- The creepy clown phenomenon has found its way to Lafourche Parish, as the sheriff's office reports two Central Lafourche High School students were arrested for wearing clown masks.
According to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office, Jordan Boudreaux and Taylor Defelice, both 17 and from Raceland, were charged after wearing a clown mask while riding around the high school.
Boudreaux and Defelice were charged with violating Louisiana R.S. 14:313 which prohibits the wearing of a mask in public outside of certain holidays, according to the sheriff's office.
“Last week we issued a stern warning that this ‘creepy clown’ activity would not be tolerated and violators would be charged,” said a statement from Sheriff Craig Webre. “With rumors running rampant throughout the country, these individuals are deciding to exploit public fears for some sort of personal enjoyment, and that is simply despicable. We hope these two students serve as a lesson to others that this type of behavior will result in criminal charges.”
Students reported the incident to the School Resource Officer at the school, and authorities determined both teens had each worn the mask at one point. Defelice posted a photo on Snapchat Tuesday morning of one of the two wearing the mask while riding in Defelice’s truck.
They were each charged with one count each of wearing a mask in public.
Webre said additional charges could be possible in other cases depending on the circumstances. If found guilty, they face a sentence from six months in prison to a maximum of three years.
"Our school administrators will not tolerate any student causing a significant disturbance on our school campus," said School District Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews.
The sheriff's office acknowledged social media accounts by individuals "posing as clowns with masks that appear sinister or menacing in nature. Other states have reported threats made regarding schools made by 'creepy clowns' on social media, but there has been no such threat in Lafourche Parish."
"Clown or not, anyone making threats of violence to others in any form, including social media, will be investigated,” said Webre. “We have a great track record of working with social media outlets to identify perpetrators, even when they open an account under anonymity. The bottom line is, we will find you, and you will be charged. We will not tolerate anyone terrorizing our community and especially our schools.”