CLAYTON — About 50 students have been suspended for two days at Cascade High School following a senior prank that involved entry into the building after hours and placing thousands of sticky notes around the school.
”(The students) were suspended for conducting a protest during the school day and refusing to comply with administrators, who gave them directives,” Mill Creek Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Spray said Wednesday morning.
Initially, five seniors and one junior were suspended for two days and a custodian was fired for allowing them entrance.
This did not sit well with fellow seniors, who staged a protest and sit-in at the school gym on Wednesday.
Anthony Canaday, one of the initial students who was suspended, said, “You see how many people have been pulled out and been suspended, and it’s just building up more and more.”
Spray said the suspensions are final.
”We had some students access the building, unauthorized, and conducted, on the surface, a very harmless prank, as far as damage to the building,” he said. “Nothing was damaged and nothing was hurt, and we are lucky. Students were all over that building, unsupervised, doing different things in different classrooms, offices, hallways.”
Spray said administrators worked to find the correct consequences.
”We met the next day and discussed the incident,” he said. “It needed to have a consequence for the action. We reviewed our handbook and the appropriate consequences. One of the things that we really talked about was to not use a sledge hammer. It’s not necessary. Let’s have a consequence and get the message across and move on. We saw that we had a short week this week with a flex day. We decided to suspend them for a couple of days and they are back on Monday. They can take their finals, participate in graduation practice and graduation.”
Canaday said the students did not expect to get suspended for the prank.
”We absolutely (did not expect this),” he said. “The senior prank, especially when we confirmed it with the head custodian and a school board member. We had all of the permission and we had a key. We had a way in. She handed us the key and said ‘here’s the key, have fun with this.’ This is non-destructive. It’s fun. It’s creative.”
Some of the students protesting the suspensions covered their cars in Post-It Notes.
Spray said the custodian was fired because she acted outside of the scope of her duties in allowing the students to access parts of the school and he said that the alleged school board member also “acted inappropriately.”
”One of our things for our evening custodian is making sure that the building is secure,” Spray said. “We can’t just let people come in and have the run of the place to leave something dangerous behind. We’re lucky.”
Canaday said that it was just Post-It Notes stuck around the school and that there was no vulgar language. He said that there was one shape, and that was a body, and they put “2012” everywhere.
Chase Wilson whose mother was the fired custodian in the case said Spray is in the wrong.
”I think it was a poor, poor decision from the superintendent,” Wilson said. “He fired my mom over it. He said that he had footage of her letting them in and into the office. I was there with them. They did not go into the office. They had their own access point. She started supervising them and walking around as she’s also cleaning up.”
Canaday said the students have found a Supreme Court ruling that allows students to protest on school property.
There were also several parents upset with the decision.
”They are upset because kids went and protested,” said Flint Anderson, a parent of three of the suspended students. “They fired someone and suspended some students for a senior prank that didn’t hurt anything and they were hoping to not hurt anything. When we were in school, we heard of senior pranks that were way worse than a Post-It Note.”
Spray said graduation will go on as planned, with a few alterations this year.
”It has become much bigger, unfortunately,” he said. “I’m disappointed in that on a lot of different levels. I hope that we can have a good end of our school year for these seniors and all of the students because we do want to celebrate their academic accomplishments. We will be prepared with additional security at graduation, just to be sure that we don’t spoil the ceremony for all of the students.”