Students Protest ‘Prank’ Punishment; Police Investigate Vandalism
NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. (April 29, 2014) — Dozens of Grant High School students protested for part of the day amid an end of the school year controversy in Newaygo County.
It was a cloudy spring day. Students skipped class to rally in the high school parking lot to support two of their classmates. Two of their own are in trouble for what the students call a ‘prank.’
“My friends Andy and Randy did a senior prank, and now they’re getting suspended for the rest of the year,” Roman Aguilar, a student and friend of the guys said.
According to Grant Public Schools administration, the two students (along with a former student who was expelled last year) are in trouble with police. It stems from their alleged antics Sunday night.
Aguilar said, “They took toilet paper, filled up a trash can with water, put all the toilet paper in the trash can and threw it everywhere.”
He added, “Then they took copy paper from the copy room and then they just put papers all over the gym floor.”
The students agree that a suspension is warranted, per the district policy. As for pursuing charges, Autumn Koolman said she feels “it was too much.”‘
Koolman added, “It’s a senior prank. They didn’t do much bad. They just cleaned it up. It’s not like they destroyed anything.”
However, school administration said there’s much more to the story.
“It’s not a prank. It’s vandalism,” Jonathan Whan, the Grant Public Schools superintendent said.
There was about $2,500 worth of damage to school property, he said. Grant’s police chief said it’s a case of ‘breaking and entering.’
The superintendent said there were “messes made and damage to the door because of how they treated the door. They’ll have to be taken off of the hinges and have to be refinished.”
Plugged drains with water running all night long added to the mess, Whan said. He explained that it took excessive man hours to clean up the mess.
The superintendent couldn’t speak to whether the disciplined students will be able to walk for graduation.
“The students that were involved are being dealt with the school, and they’ll most likely, potentially have issues with the court system,” he said.
Whan said, “If you have to do something where you have to cover your face because you think you might get in trouble, then it’s probably not a good thing to do. And it’s not a prank. There was intent and it was severe and it’s disrupted the learning environment.”
He said the students who skipped class to protest were within their right, but it’s up to parents if they want to discipline them.
The police chief said arrests haven’t been made. It’s an open investigation, and charges are considered.