Students Protest ‘Prank’ Punishment; Police Investigate Vandalism

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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.

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  • swami72

    When the superintendent says, "…they’ll most likely, potentially have issues with the court system", no doubt he also means "later in life… as adults… they'll be repeat offenders". This was no 'prank'. This type of behavior tends to continue and turn into something much bigger and much worse. Maybe parents could use some time behind bars with the kids to really drive the message home.

  • laura

    They should have to pay for the damages…. This was not kids being kids. That is vandalism and destruction of property. They want to be treated like adults……..then they can be punished like an adult. Thanks for creating more negative coverage of newaygo county…..

  • Alan

    Those kids did deserve to be expelled, maybe not jail time, but at least fine them the damages and then some. Especially as those kids have been in trouble before.

  • Autumn

    I’m from Grant High School and personally I’m completely embarrassed to call myself part of our 2014 class. They were completely wrong to do what they did and should be lucky that the consequences weren’t more severe. The protest was beyond ridiculous and I hope that they all get in some sort of trouble for that too. Supporting the two kids they way they did is just as bad as doing it.. We should be celebrating all the free rides to college seniors got this year, not painting our school in this terrible light as we’re leaving.

  • Sabrina

    I am also a Senior at Grant High School. What happened at my school was unacceptable. I feel bad for the people who had to clean up after the poor judgements made by three students. I know as a fact that the custodians and a few students spent the majority of the school day on Monday cleaning up the mess. As for the “protest”, it consisted of students who wanted attention. Seeing disappointment, sorrow, and exhaustion in the face of the coolest principal I have ever had, made my heart hurt. Mr. Simon and the rest of the staff work very hard to make the school the best it can be. While these student protesters do have the freedom of speech, I have to wonder what it is they’re fighting for. Righting a wrong? Well, that couldn’t be it because the three students were wrong and there are always going to be consequences for your actions. I am disappointed in those three students for not thinking before acting out. I am also disappointed in some of my fellow students, the protesters, who called the news, embarrassed the school, and sided with the wrong doers. I am not, nor will I ever be, embarrassed to call Grant High School my school. The whole staff cares for the students and treats them with respect. I can honestly say that my school, though it has some bad moments, has given me the tools I need to succeed in life. I can honestly say that my school has given me hope for my future. My school has shown me love and compassion. Yes, there are some bad moments, but my school has incredible, loving staff who help us find our passion and potential. No other school could beat that.

  • Guest

    I graduated from this high school in 2009 and this story as well as another senior "prank" a few years ago makes me embarrassed to have ever been affiliated with this place. This is ridiculous.

  • are you perfict

    omg – they are kids !! kids do stupid shit thats why they are kids. i do agree they may have pushed the envelope but damn i think they have suffered enough with public embarasment. PPL. have gotten stupid with this crap now days -every one belongs in jail! pretty soon we will be ticketed for picking up trash and sent to prison for helping old ladys cross the street.

    • Sabrina

      I know these kids. I go to school with them. They aren’t embarrassed or ashamed. They’re proud and happy to get the attention. If anything, it is the rest of the student body and staff who feel embarrassed. These kids are making the whole school look bad.

    • swami72

      Based on your grammar and spelling, I am guessing that you are also a kid, so your perspective is skewed and immature. From the comments made by those professing to go to school with these students, (things like "they aren't embarrassed or ashamed") it is clear that public embarrassment isn't enough. They need to grow up, and it looks like they'll be doing that behind bars.

  • animal lover

    maybe we should start teaching law in middle school so the kids have some understanding of the law before we start charging kids that dont realize every thing is aginst the law now days

  • So Stupid

    spit chewing gum out – every one does! does every one get a ticket for littering? i step in it all the time but no one cares about it because its such a little thing. I care it effects me when i step in it. – gets drug threw the house ruins my carpet. but because its done by the masses its accepted and over looked. If your not going to go after all of the little things in life then dont go after any of them.

  • janitor needs life

    please its not that hard to clean up toilet paper. some janitor rode the principals back till he got sick of it enough to press charges. because the janitor is sick of doing his job!b some dumb jerk is done dealing with kids and needs to find a new job. Quit taking your flustration out on kids – find a new job if they bug you that much

    • Sabrina

      It wasn’t the janitor who had the issue. And by the way, the custodians at Grant High School are incredible people who do care about the students. I don’t think you understand or know. I go to this school. Until you know our staff and students, you probably shouldn’t judge our custodians.

      • janitor needs life

        i did attend that school and our views of it differ greatly. just because you had a good time dont mean we all did

  • Jimmy

    Don't think it is the janitor that needs to get a life.See you down the road,Yeah, I might want the fries too.

  • Guest

    This is not a case of kids being kids and doing stupid stuff. This was harmful vandalism and breaking and entering. And those things are ILLEGAL.

  • George

    It was plain and simple a vengeful act due to the fact that the expelled student involved would not be able to walk with his buddies which was decided less than two weeks prior to the "prank." There was motif, it takes more than 2 students to call it a senior prank because the one was no longer a student due to his behaviors. Senior pranks are more of a joke, haha funny, than vandalism. Are you going to stand by them when they commit their next criminal act, protest at the jail. It's called being accountable for the choices you make, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime!!

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