BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Alamance-Burlington School System has revealed new photos of the damage inside district schools connected to so-called “senior pranks,” which the district has referred to as vandalism and trespassing.
“By sharing a sample of these images, we aim to provide the community with a view of the incidents that impacted our school facilities,” the district said in a statement. “The investigation is still ongoing which includes the total cost of destruction and employee hours. These ‘pranks’ resulted in damages and a massive cleanup response by our staff. Some of the inside areas of our schools impacted by the vandalism included toilets, urinals, piping, hardwood floors, desks, furniture, and walls.”
‘Pranks’ in Alamance County
The “pranks” at Williams drew national attention after students poured cement into eight toilets and six urinals, an act of property damage that left behind a bill of more than $4,000.
Burlington Police Department announced that misdemeanor property damage and breaking and entering charges have been filed against seven students—five 18-year-old seniors and two juvenile underclassmen—who were reportedly involved in the cement incident.
In addition to the cement “prank,” Williams staff found baby powder all over the gym, inappropriate signs and balloons littered throughout the school, mulch in the halls and more.
Western Alamance High School was egged, and trash was dumped everywhere.
At Southern Alamance, seniors poured dead fish in the parking lot and on wrestling mats, dumped old appliances on campus and a moped was put on the roof.
Damage at the schools also included overturned desks, damaged lockers, graffiti, eggs and trash.
As of Wednesday, Alamance-Burlington School System says that 44 students were involved in “pranks” at Williams High School, 27 at Eastern Alamance High School, seven at Southern Alamance High School, seven at Graham High School and one at Western Alamance High School. The participant at Western and three at Southern Alamance were underclassmen.
Guilford County and Winston-County/Forsyth County Schools say they have not experienced any major senior pranks, but school principals may choose to speak to their students to discourage the behavior.
As a result of the pranks, the Alamance-Burlington School System has barred 82 students from participating in graduation exercises, as of Wednesday.
“The Board of Education is aware that more than 80 students from Alamance-Burlington Schools will not be allowed to participate in upcoming graduation ceremonies,” the statement reads. “These students were identified entering our school buildings as part of senior pranks across the District. Seven of these students were identified and subsequently charged by the Burlington Police Department for damaging eight toilets and six urinals at Walter Williams High School costing the District more than $4,000.”
All six high school principals were instructed to notify parents if their student entered/trespassed school buildings and/or vandalized the exterior or interior of buildings.
- Graduating seniors are suspended from campus for the remainder of the academic year and will not participate in graduation ceremonies.
- Other students who are not graduating seniors will be suspended for the remainder of this school year and will be recommended for additional consequences under the Code of Conduct.
- Students suspected of damage to school property will also be reported to law enforcement.
As the investigations at our high schools continue, we anticipate the number of students who will not participate in graduation to increase.
We feel it is important to bring clarity to this unfortunate situation and to be transparent with the community. Please know we do believe important milestones should be celebrated yet we do expect our students to do so in a respectful manner. The disruption of learning, monetary costs to our District, extra burden on our facilities team and, at several campuses, the disregard for student safety simply cannot be tolerated.
The Board of Education fully supports Dr. Butler and his continued commitment for zero tolerance in our schools.”The ABSS Board of Education
Other districts have reacted similarly.
In Union County, two people were arrested and accused of felony damaging computers at Sun Valley High School with more than $20,000 in damage estimated.
In Mecklenburg County, around 50 students broke into Mallard Creek High School and caused $5,000 of damage by tossing furniture and throwing trash. Some have been charged.
Both districts will prohibit those involved from participating in graduation ceremonies.
For their part, most students are not happy with what happened. One student leader said they should pay restitution.
“It was vandalism. It wasn’t a senior prank at all. I think they were completely out of line, and if they’re getting their scholarships and suspended, I feel like their scholarship money should be … put towards the cement because it’s $4,000 in damages,” she said.