It seemed like a fun idea at the time: Painting their cars like floats in a parade and cruising down the off-limits service road that runs around Oakland’s Skyline High School campus at lunchtime.
But about 11 of the students that took part in Friday’s senior prank — those who were caught — learned yesterday they would be suspended and banned from walking the stage at tomorrow night’s commencement at the Paramount, said Raeshon Culberson, whose daughter Jasmine was suspended (and, incidentally, who used to teach at Skyline).
They’ll be allowed inside the theater, Culberson said, but not on stage — and not dressed in a cap and gown.
Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland school district, said the prank posed a safety threat. He said a number of teachers reported that cars were doing donuts and other tricks near students and staff, and that the drivers refused to stop, even when staff approached the cars. They also reported that some bystanders were almost hit, he said.
“I don’t think anyone at the school would classify this as a parade (other than those involved),” he said.
Culberson said the kids made a mistake and should face consequences. But, she said, the decision was too harsh. “I just want the punishment to fit the crime,” she said.
”My daughter is going to go onto college, but for kids who aren’t going to college, this is sort of their last hurrah,” she said.
Culberson said another group of pranksters – who, she said, got a key from a school employee and spread flour and water all over the floor of two buildings – will be allowed to walk the stage.
Flint confirmed the story and said that the employee in question is being disciplined. He said the pranks were treated differently because one posed a safety threat and the other involved a staff member.
“Because an adult was complicit in the prank, it didn’t seem appropriate for the students to take the burden of the punishment,” he said.
What do you think? Should the school administration reverse its decision and let the kids make it up in some other way? How?