A prank that was intended to turn the front lawn of Highland High School into a giant potato casserole on Homecoming Week resulted in a police report, a late-night call to the schools …
A prank that was intended to turn the front lawn of Highland High School into a giant potato casserole on Homecoming Week resulted in a police report, a late-night call to the schools superintendent, and student disciplinary actions.
When Washington County deputies were called to the school at about 11 Sunday night, the lawn had been seeded with instant potato mix by a group of Highland students and forks were planted into the ground with a “Mash the Pirates” theme in reference to the football team’s game against the Alburnett Pirates on Friday night.
Less than 12 hours later, the students, who included senior class officers, were questioned by high school administrators Angela Hazelett and Bill Zywiec and then were issued a combination of suspensions and 30-day disciplinary actions that parents have called too excessive.
At least two members of those selected for the Homecoming Court were not allowed to participate in this week’s Homecoming activities, including the school’s annual Boom Night, which was held Wednesday night in Ainsworth.
Schools Superintendent Ken Crawford did not identify the names of the students to The News, nor the specific penalties, but Jenna Waters, a senior class officer, and Avery Johnston appeared on the TV report.
“We just wanted to do a harmless prank,” Johnston told KCRG.
Crawford told The News that the penalties were in accordance with the district’s student conduct policies and were consistent with penalties issued after previous pranks in other years.
“Keeping kids safe on school property is a major part of our job that we take seriously,” Crawford said.
Objections to those penalties surfaced Tuesday in a report by Molly Swayne of Cedar Rapids TV station KCRG and made its way across the state, even to an airing of the report in Des Moines by KCCI 8.
“We have great kids,” Crawford told The News. “I want them to have fun at high school. Our goal is to keep kids safe and that’s what I want to do.”
Upon arriving at the school Sunday night, police instructed the students to fix what they had done.
“They told us to clean it up and just go home,” Waters told KCRG.