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Senior prank may cause students to miss graduation

Published on: 
Wed, 06/13/2012
Media Source: 
Washington Post

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 involve shaving 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.

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