A senior prank at Patterson High School by about 40 students resulted in suspension for several seniors and landscaping work around campus for most of the others.
School employees showed up to work Tuesday morning to discover several buildings and murals splattered with paintballs, lard in door locks, plastic forks stuck all over the lawn, “Seniors ’08” scrawled on windows and toilet paper strewn about.
“Several seniors decided to do a prank,” Patterson High School Principal David Stubbs said. “Some of them went a little too far.”
It appears none of the damage is permanent, Stubbs said, and cleaning up only has cost the school staff time.
The night of the vandalism, police noticed an unusual number of people around the high school and talked to about eight of them, though at the time police did not connect them to any vandalism. Police took down the students’ names, which school officials used Tuesday to track down some of the culprits.
After Stubbs announced to the school that he wanted the other people involved in Monday night’s prank to turn themselves in, many came forward, he said.
He suspects a few students haven’t yet been identified. Those who confessed, Stubbs said, have all offered a personal apologies, some in writing.
In the 20 years the principal has been in education, he said, he has never seen a prank like this.
“It was a grand scale,” Stubbs said.
At first, he intended to not let the students participate in May 29 graduation ceremonies. But he changed his mind, he said, for several reasons.
“My initial impression was ‘You’re not walking,’” Stubbs said. “Then you see this is a lot of kids involved.
I’m a realist. It’s 40 kids that, quite honestly, haven’t had anything on their records. It wasn’t malicious; it wasn’t permanent.”
He even admitted he was involved with a senior prank in his youth. He declined to elaborate.
The students who were involved in the more severe vandalism received suspensions. Most were given several options for retribution, including planting trees, which they all selected.
On Tuesday, the students helped clean up the mess they created and planted trees around the campus.
Stubbs also said the students learned “how something very small can grow into something very big.”
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