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Should they be allowed to graduate?

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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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by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM
Replies (11-16):
by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 4:39 PM
They are graduating, they just aren't allowed to walk with their classmates. Someone could have been seriously injured so I think they're getting off light
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by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Students EARN a diploma, but they are NOT ENTITLED to the ceremony.  That is a PRIVILEGE and if they are not mature/respectable enough, then they are not allowed to be part.

by Emerald Member on Jun. 13, 2012 at 6:10 PM

We had the same rule 20-some years ago when I graduated and there were some kids in my class that lost their PRIVILEGE to participate in the commencement ceremony.  This ceremoy is a privilege and not a right, and I totally support the school in its decision to ban them from the ceremony.  These students will still get their deplomas and still graduate HS, they just miss the honor of participating with the rest of their class.  Maybe this will help them learn that the rules still apply, even when you are ending a chapter in your life.

by Kristi on Jun. 13, 2012 at 6:23 PM

I have no issue with them not being allowed in the ceremony.  However I do wonder why some where banned and others not.  It seems to me that if they all took a part in putting the oil down(hallway or stairs), they all should have been banned.

by Gold Member on Jun. 14, 2012 at 5:43 AM
It should be equal all involved get the sane punishment. There is a good chance they were warned and although it sucks there are more reasons than pranks that kids do not get to walk. (I did not for example because I chose to work instead of suddenly doing the rule change to a 9 period day when I only needed 2 more classes!

So, I think it is fair.
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by Kristi on Jun. 14, 2012 at 8:41 AM

I just heard on the news this morning that one of the three who was appealing the punishment lost his appeal.

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