Senior prank may cause students to miss graduation
Not long after the mischief started, Chris Shoemaker says, he knew it was a bad idea. He and his friends were on the brink of graduation at Herndon High School and intrigued by the idea of a senior prank — an annual rite of passage at high schools that can involveshaving cream, paint, water balloons and sometimes worse.
Someone mentioned baby oil. The teenagers imagined their classmates skating across hallways. It sounded comical.
It was not. No one was injured in the escapade, but the slicks of oil that appeared June 6 in several hallways and stairway landings left six senior boys suspended during their final days of school, according to students involved. Three, including Shoemaker, are banned from Thursday graduation ceremonies, the students said.
For some schools, senior pranks can be a yearly headache, with each class trying to leave its mark and high jinks ranging from the harmless to hazardous. Principals often make the call on consequences — weighing the extent of problems caused, with an eye on the difficulty of excluding students from the grand finale of high school.
In Fairfax County, this decision-making comes as the school system is under a discipline microscope, with the School Board continuing to study how students are punished for infractions.
Shoemaker and his family are appealing the graduation ban Wednesday, arguing in part that all six teenagers involved should have been punished equally — without losing graduation privileges. An honor student, Shoemaker, 18, has taken 11 Advanced Placement courses at Herndon, and he played varsity basketball. He said he has never had a discipline infraction.
“I feel I should definitely have been punished, and I definitely did something wrong, and somebody could have gotten hurt,” said the teen, who apologized in person Monday to the principal. He said he would gladly make amends through community service or school cleanup — “anything other than not letting us walk” across the graduation stage, he said.
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on Jun. 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM