School officials asked to lift graduation ban after senior prank on Long Island

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NJ Burkett has more on the plea from Copiague High School parents to let students walk at graduation after vandalizing school.

Parents of students barred from their Long Island high school commencement because of a senior prank are asking district officials to reconsider the ban.

Officials said students broke into Copiague High School earlier this month and vandalized portions of the building. The damage included a smashed projector and the ransacking of an assistant principal's office.

District officials aren't saying how many students were involved or how they're being punished, but parents say that more than 30 seniors out of a graduating class of 388 are barred from attending Thursday night's graduation ceremony at the school.

Parents urged board of education members Monday night to allow the banned students to attend, including those who were there during the vandalism but never entered the school.

Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bannon issued the following statement last week:

At approximately 2:00 am on Friday, June 9, 2017, there was a break-in at the Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School. The break-in set off the building's security alarm, causing the Suffolk County Police Department to respond to the call. The Police and District Administrators who investigated the matter found, among other things, that the interior of the High School had been extensively "egged" and sprayed with shaving cream, the office of an Assistant Principal was ransacked and personal items in the office compromised, and that an expensive projector used for instruction was smashed. It was discovered that at least some of the perpetrators climbed through a second story window to gain entry to the High School at that late hour.

A review of the available security camera footage enabled the District to determine that a number of students were involved in this incident. The District was informed by the Police that the individuals involved could be subject to criminal liability for their behavior. Furthermore, the District has been significantly concerned about the potential for serious physical injury that could have resulted from some of these behaviors. Nonetheless, the Board of Education and Administration determined that they would not seek to pursue criminal charges against those involved. But that decision does not change the fact that this is a very serious matter, and that the District is truly disheartened by this incident.

Simply put, this is not a mere "prank," as has been suggested by some. Furthermore, over the course of the school year, seniors were advised not to engage in any senior pranks and were informed in writing that if they did, serious consequences would ensue. The behaviors exhibited by the individuals involved in this incident are unacceptable and inexcusable, they violate the District's Code of Conduct, and do not represent the fine character and wonderful accomplishments of our senior student body. The District respects the laws and regulations that relate to student privacy rights, and shall not discuss the specific nature of any consequence imposed upon any particular individual member of the student body.

May this unfortunate incident be a reminder to other students and their parents/guardians that the district does not tolerate such acts, and that those who disobey the law and the District's Code of Conduct will be held accountable for their actions.

Related Topics:
educationpranklong island newsgraduationseniorsCopiague
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