Dozens of high school students who took part in a senior prank have been told they can walk at their upcoming graduation after their principal said they may not be allowed to do so as punishment.
A total of 44 students were found to have participated in the prank at Gladstone High School in Oregon which involved students moving hundreds of desks from classrooms into the halls and replacing their teacher’s white board erasers with hot dogs.
In an email to parents and guardians, Gladstone Principal Kevin Taylor originally said that the students who took part in the “well planned but not well thought out” prank may not be allowed to walk at their graduation on Wednesday (June 12) and also could be charged nearly $50 each to repay the damage they caused,
The students were found to have used stepladders to get onto the school’s roof and into the courtyard to let others in the grounds—an act which Taylor said amounted to breaking/entering and trespassing.
Taylor also condemned the actions of the students for taking advantage of a custodian present at the school who allowed them to carry out the acts.
“We have a custodian on staff who is trusting and also will do anything for students,” Taylor wrote. “They manipulated and abused his big heart and warm nature and took advantage of him to have him open rooms for them. He thought they were continuing some part of senior events and graduation and a surprise for teachers.
“Some students told him the furniture they were moving out would be put back. Again, taking advantage of this fine staff member.”
Taylor said the students were easily identified from the school’s surveillance cameras. He added that he was considering charging them a total of $47.55 to help pay for the $2,092.32 in damages they caused during the prank.
“I mean they moved some desks around and put a hot dog or two on an eraser board,” parent Corey Sticka said after receiving the original letter from Taylor warning students may not be able to walk. “Give me a break.”
However, following two days’ worth of discussions with the school’s superintendent as well as other staff members and student leaders, Taylor confirmed he will allow the 44 seniors to fully participate in the graduation ceremony.
In a follow-up letter to parents and guardians, Taylor added that the decision was made after students “realized the impact on one particular staff member” and that they will make amends. Taylor added that there will be discussions with staff and students to “re-establish positive relationships.”
It is unclear if students will still be charged $47.55 for damages after all. Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.