SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Several school principals in Sarasota County are trying to address the creepy clown craze before it becomes an issue there.
A recorded message urging parents to discuss with their children the clown phenomenon went out to parents of four schools last week: Sarasota High School, Brookside Middle School, Pine View School and Riverview High School.
According to the school district, the message also told parents that each school's "amazing counseling team is always available to assist with any child who may benefit from talking about their concerns."
Sarasota High School Principal David Jones included a line that "students are not permitted to wear clown costumes, masks, or makeup to school or any school events."
"Schools have to get involved in everything now and it's just a sad world we live in," said Jessica Egan, whose son is in fourth grade. "I think deep down he's scared."
Goodwill-Suncoast Monday ordered all stores to pull clown costumes.
"It's sick. It's incredibly sick and they're using the media to create more mass fear in everyone," Egan offered.
The issue is hitting home at the Circus Arts Conservatory, which is next door to Sarasota High School.
Pedro Reis, who performed as a clown for more than 30 years and founded the conservatory, said the craze is overshadowing the work they do to help the elderly and to teach kids about science through circus tricks.
"It's really about love. It's a true form of clowning is about love, not about scaring kids," he told FOX 13. "It should not be about these idiots out there putting on clown makeup and just being stupid."