The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 23, 2013

Senior pranks

— A prank?

How about an act of vandalism.

Destruction of property.

Call it what it really is.

There’s no need to sugar coat it.

A media report this week stated “About 20 Wayne High School students are barred from the school’s graduation ceremony because of a senior prank that damaged the building.”

What they did was appalling and sickening.

It went well beyond a practical joke or a “prank” as most have described it.

West Virginia State Police say the students broke windows to get inside the school building, then smeared deer carcasses and poured deer urine in several rooms.

Other students claim to have only placed 1,800 cups of water throughout the hallways, and were upset to have received the same punishment as the more destructive students.

But the point really is, they all were part of a breaking and entering, on school property illegally.

The Wayne County Board of Education suspended the students from school property at a special meeting Monday night.

Kudos to the board for having a backbone.

The graduation ceremony was held at the school Wednesday evening without the offending students.

We feel they got off very easy.

Missing the ceremony is the only punishment for cooperative offenders.

According to reports: “No charges will be filed against students who agree to a pre-trial diversion, which could include community service. W.Va. State Police Sgt. R.D. Perry said students who do not agree to a pre-trial diversion will face  felony charges of breaking and entering and destruction of property, along with misdemeanor disruption of a school function.”

It’s shameful that the students would take for granted what the school system had given them.

They didn’t consider the staff that would have to clean up the mess of a deer carcass, urine, broken glass and a considerable amount of water on the floors — not exactly the ingredients for comedy, or a prank.

It hasn’t been too many years ago that we reported on similar stunts from senior class members here in Raleigh County.

Our hope is that the graduating high school seniors all over West Virginia are leaving their respective schools well equipped for life in the real world.

And ready to contribute to society, not bring more corruption or humiliation to it.

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons these 20 seniors from Wayne will have learned from their time in Wayne County Schools is that actions like this will not and should not go unpunished.

It’s a terrible price to pay, and no doubt disappointing — especially to family members who had looked forward to watching the turning of their tassels.

But for the students — the memory of the disgrace they caused their community, their school and their loved ones might serve as motivation to never stray on the wrong side of the law again.

We hope.

Because they could miss much more than a graduating ceremony the next time.