Suspended senior pranksters worried about graduation

(KGO)
June 8, 2012 5:54:49 PM PDT
Friday was the day before graduation for the class of 2012 at Heritage High School in Brentwood, but there's a lot of uncertainty for dozens of students there. A group of seniors scrawled graffiti all over the new campus and left a lamb chained there overnight as part of a campus prank last week, but administrators called it vandalism.

There are a lot of seniors who are on pins and needles along with their parents and it's not just end of the year jitters. Some of the students who were suspended are unclear how it will affect their college careers and some who were not were worried they might get pulled out of Saturday's graduation practice Friday and possibly from the actual graduation ceremony on Saturday.

All Friday morning, just off Heritage High School's grounds, Pampi Divinagracia was a one-man demonstration against the mass suspensions. He says his granddaughter is among those dismissed for last week's pranks. "I offered my services. Whatever damage, whatever they did, I'm going to repair it, but the school just would not listen to me," he told ABC7 News.

Red paint spelling out "seniors" and a lamb shackled to a campus post are a couple examples of the extent seniors went last week in what some parents say is a tradition that went too far. "Parents drove their kids here. Parents planned with their kids on what they were going to do. You don't know whether it's water-based paint or water-soluble paint or whatever. The surface you put it on, it may not come out," parent Lynne Palmer said.

Palmer's son is an underclassman and was not part of this year's prank. She says students caught should suffer the consequences of not being able to walk the graduation line with their fellow classmates, but they should not have their academic careers derailed. "Whether or not they bring them all in at one time and hold it one area for four hours on one day, yeah, the kids need to be able to finish academically," she said.

Outside Friday's graduation practice, parents like Jose Avalos were called to school for last-minute consultations with administrators to see if their children would graduate. He says the students have been chastised and they helped clean up the mess. On Mr. Divinagracia's sign, he lists 51 suspended students, but there's a possibility there may be more.

Some of the students said Friday that there will be an alternate graduation ceremony on Saturday to parallel the one at the school. It has been organized by parents of the suspended students and will be held at an undisclosed home.

More than 80 students were involved in the prank, but it's not clear how many more students have been suspended because both the superintendant of schools and the principal were unavailable for questions Friday.


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