Officials: High school vandalism a crime, not prank | Crime
SOUTH TAMPA, Florida -- Some might say a problem with pranks committed by high school seniors is that the next one always tries to be a little more over the top than the last.
At some point, that means something or someone could get hurt. School officials say that is what happened overnight at Henry B. Plant High School in South Tampa.
"As far as we're concerned, this goes beyond being a prank," said Hillsborough County Schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.
Earlier this week, about 20 Plant High School seniors wrapped the school in Saran Wrap and a bunch of dead fish. No harm done, so school officials said "no big deal."
But overnight, Plant got pranked again. This time, 30 door locks were glued shut.
That's no small expense to fix. Classes were missed, and Tampa police were called in to investigate.
"This crosses the line," said Hegarty. "This isn't something you can laugh about and say 'Well, you you shouldn't have done that.' We consider it to be beyond a prank and consider it to be a crime."
Students say there were plenty of people asking questions today about who was responsible, but so far, no arrests had been announced.
Audrey Greminger, a senior, says a lot of classes had to be held in other rooms while repair work was done.
"I mean, I had first period and my first period teacher's window had to be broken, because they couldn't even get the locks off," said Greminger.
Miranda Clark, also a senior, says she can see why school officials didn't find any humor in this "prank."
"From an administrator's perspective it was just too much and it was over the top and it wasn't funny," she says.
There have also been reports of graffiti at Newsome High School, and at Osceola Fundamental High School in Seminole, a disciplinary board is meeting with parents there to discuss punishment for a dozen honor students who allegedly stole a key and broke into the school to pull a prank.
It instead landed five of the 18-year-olds in handcuffs and the rest in serious trouble. Each faces a six-day suspension, and the possibility that they won't be allowed to walk at graduation.
"There are serious consequences for doing these things, and it's not fun," says Hegarty, "It's not funny. It's probably not anywhere near as clever as they think it is."
The principal at Plant says if found, those responsible for the vandalism will not be allowed to walk at graduation and could face far more serious charges.