(June 11,2012) We have received numerous inquiries about
the consequences faced by students who participated in a senior prank at the
High School on Thursday evening, June 7. The students involved entered the
open building and spent four hours covering the walls, doors, windows,
ceilings and floors of every public area with tens of thousands of post-it
notes, spreading confetti and balloons throughout the building and drawing
on every exterior and interior window with non-permanent window paint. They
caused no lasting damage to school property, and the messages they conveyed
in paint and post-its were positive. The unfortunate result was that the
building’s condition was not safe and conducive to the testing, teaching and
learning that are our daily responsibility and mission. This problem was
corrected before classes began with the helpful intervention of student
volunteers, custodial staff from the middle and high schools, instructional
staff that had arrived early, and some of the student perpetrators
The senior pranksters have demonstrated exemplary scholarship and character throughout their careers in the district. While we applaud their overall citizenship in our school community—and their creative effort to devise a prank that would not result in lasting damage—the well-intentioned prank went a little too far. On Friday morning our staff was confronted with a school building that was unsafe for our student population and would have proven disruptive to learning. The time and effort dedicated to correcting this problem by staff and students cost taxpayers money and should have been spent preparing for academic endeavors and building maintenance.
Additionally, in reviewing security footage of the incident, the students involved could be seen running, climbing, jumping, rollerblading and riding scooters through the halls and stairwells. These activities were unsafe and put the district at risk for liability if any of the unsupervised students had been injured.
The unsafe behaviors, the necessitation of materials and personnel hours to rectify the situation and the resultant disruption of the school day were all violations both of the district code of conduct and of our clearly outlined expectations for student conduct after school hours. As a result, the students involved face a consequence for their actions. In determining an appropriate consequence, the administration took into account the students’ positive intentions, the temporary nature of their mischief, and the fact that involvement in the incident was a first-time offense for the majority of those involved.
In light of these considerations, the determined consequence is brief but significant. Pranks, by their nature, defy appropriate behavior and involve an element of risk. It speaks to the generally responsible character of the students involved that they understood that their actions risked punishment. Principal Bailey has spoken with all of the participants. The students respectfully expressed it had been their intent to recognize and celebrate their high school experiences. They also accepted that elements of the prank had a negative impact on custodial staff and made for a rocky start to the school day on Friday.
Unfortunately, an unrelated incident of vandalism to the exterior of our school building occurred the same evening. While wholly unrelated to the well-intentioned prank, the message of this second incident was not a positive one. This second incident amplified both the chaos of the day and the urgency of remediating the interior mess committed by the post-it pranksters. We do not hold the interior pranksters accountable for the exterior vandalism, and their punishment is in no way tied to that separate event. The police are currently investigating the exterior damage; the offensiveness and the permanence of that vandalism will result in much more severe consequences when the perpetrators are identified.
The post-it prank was good natured. The extreme degree to which it was undertaken represented an error in judgment by a group of students who have worked diligently throughout their RCS careers, often demonstrating great spirit, compassion and conscientiousness. They have earned the respect of our staff and their fellow students. Yes, there will be a consequence for their error in judgment, but we remain proud of their contributions to our school community, value their creativity, and will applaud their graduation on June 23.