Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100: Clowning Around

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CLOWNING AROUND. The encounter between Lake County middle-school students wearing clown masks and law enforcement poses a challenging First Amendment issue: At what point does an individual’s constitutional right to free expression lose out to the legitimate concerns for the health, safety and well-being of others? When combined with an app emitting gunfire? Maybe. When combined with posted threats? Probably, if credible; possibly, even if not. But what about a social-media setting posing adults traipsing through residential communities garbed as circus clowns? Imprudent, of course; freaky and provocative, clearly, since nobody really trusts a clown anyway. Clowning around with the First Amendment might well test the limits of law enforcement. If you do happen to spot a clown this Halloween, beware.