Fourteen out of 42 students at an East Texas high school will not be able to attend graduation this weekend because of a senior prank. Hawkins High School administrators made the decision after the prank Tuesday night. School officials say it will cost at least $6,000 to repair the damages the students caused.
Both students and parents say the punishment is too harsh. "It started out we were just going to put a bunch of toilet paper on the inside and outside," said Chris Jones, 18, one of the seniors who took part in the prank. Jones says the prank went further than they planned. "There was other people that showed up and they started dumping the trash can," said Jones.
School officials say the trash dumped inside the building had been in the heat for several days. They say the students ripped toilet paper holders from the walls and sprayed a product called "Doe in Heat", deer urine, in the hall. "The liquids that were used there and the smell, it took our maintenance people quite a while to get the volume of trash there and then to try to eradicate the odor," said Hawkins ISD Superintendent Dan Rose.
Along with the trash, a note was left that read: "This traditional raid, played out among fun and games, gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past years and look forward to future legacies. Our only demand is that you make the freshman class clean it up... otherwise... there will be a second strike and it will be much worse than this one."
Parents say relatives have flown in from all over the country for the graduation, and that a lot of money has been spent. They agree their kids should be reprimanded, but they say the punishment is too much. "Extremely angry. I'm shaking right now," said Perry Schum, whose son is part of the group not being allowed to go to graduation.
"It's something every mother and father looks forward to, to graduate from high school to walk across the stage," said Alfred Guthrie, another parent who will not see his son walk across the stage. But for this group of teens, the prospect of that happening, hangs in the balance.
Officials say the school has not pressed charges. The students could have been charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass.