A high school in New Orleans is cracking down on students who took part in a senior prank by banning them from their own graduation.
Administrators of the Louisiana charter school, Sophie B. Wright, posted a warning to its website in early April to tell students, staff and parents that they were “aware of a possible senior prank” and had directed students not to participate. But after a number of students ignored those instructions, they were faced with big consequences — including being barred from graduation.
According to a statement posted by the school board president, James Watson, on Monday, the prank led to water being sprayed on school property and compromised a bathroom, in addition to allegedly injuring at least one teacher and one student.
“Both personal injury and effects on property are currently under investigation,” Watson stated. “It is possible that damage caused by these students will result in criminal and civil actions.”
New Orleans station WVUE reports that as of Tuesday morning, some students have been expelled while others were suspended for five days, in addition to being banned from future senior activities, including prom and graduation ceremony.
“I think it was just a harsh, cruel punishment,” Rebecca Soloman, the mother of a suspended student, Kariell Bass, told the outlet.
Watson’s statement claims that students were warned about the specific consequences on multiple occasions and actively chose to ignore them. Still, students who participated, and even their parents, have said that the prank was all in good fun.
“It looks like they’re having fun. They’re kids. They’re 17, 18 years old. This is the last real day of their childhood,” another mother of a suspended student told WVUE.
Bass added, “It was a senior prank. How many high schools do you know of that have a senior prank? All of them.”
The school didn’t respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, Watson’s statement maintains that the students’ action was more than a harmless prank and posed a threat to student safety. An update to the initial warning reads that the prank had students using “waterguns, eggs, vinegar, mustard and water balloons inside and outside of the building,” while students told WVUE that the majority of the prank took place outdoors.
Regardless of the details, parents are most concerned about ensuring that their children can take part in their high school graduation ceremony and are given an alternative, less severe punishment.
“I will fight for my child. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to stand by my child,” Soloman said. “I looked at the video. I didn't see my child doing anything wrong.”
As for her daughter, Bass just wants to make her mother proud.
“I worked this hard to prove something to my family,” , Bass, added. “I’m going to be the first grandchild to graduate. I’m going to be my mother’s first child to graduate.”
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