Seniors banned from graduation after 'dangerous' prank

Posted at 8:08 AM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 08:08:47-04

MILLEDGEVILLE, GA (WGXA/CNN) – More than 30 high school seniors in Georgia will not be allowed to take part in their graduation ceremony because of a “dangerous and unsafe” senior prank.

Beverly Smith says she’s disappointed in the school’s decision. Her daughter is one of the students who was involved in the senior prank at Baldwin High School in Milledgeville, GA.

"It's heartbreaking. It's disappointing. My daughter is the only child of her father. He won't get to enjoy in that at all,” Smith said.

On Thursday, more than two dozen students entered the school wearing all black and wielding water guns and water balloons. Some even had on masks.

Two students not involved in the prank experienced panic attacks, according to the Baldwin County Board of Education, which called the prank “a very dangerous and unsafe situation.”

"I do agree that it should not have happened. I do agree that some punishment should be taken, but I think that them not being allowed to walk is far too harsh, and I understand that it needs to stop,” Smith said.

On Saturday, Smith and the parents of 34 other students received calls that their child would not be permitted to walk at graduation.

Smith thinks school leaders should have done more to stop or prevent the prank.

"It's been traditional that pranks do occur, and for them to see the seniors come in like that from a parade and them are all wearing the same colors, would have given me an indication that something was going to happen,” she said.

The Baldwin County School Code of Conduct says that students shall not “disrupt or otherwise interfere with the orderly operation of school.”

Smith says students needed a warning in addition to the code of conduct.

"I agree with that being there, but I think as the year ensues and it gets closer to graduation, just like they would remind them of a test, a reminder was needed,” she said.

Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Noris Price says the students created “total disruption” and disregarded the directives of teachers and officials.

The students will still graduate with their diplomas and any honors they may have achieved, but they will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Parents now hope the school and the board will hear them out and change the punishment.

"I'm hoping that there is change. I'd like to see my daughter walk across that stage, and I'm sure all the other parents who’ve been in constant contact with me would love for that to happen as well,” Smith said.

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