June 8, 2009

No grad ceremony for chalk pranksters

Nine Wisconsin high school seniors barred from walking in their graduation for using sidewalk chalk outside the school say the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

James Clark, one of the seniors suspended from Hartland's Arrowhead High School, said he and his co-conspirators used chalk to write Class of 09 and other small messages and designs on the school Thursday night, WISN-TV in Milwaukee reported Monday.

In some ways I thought it was a pretty lame prank, you know, it looked more like a decoration, Clark said. It just said 'Class of '09.' And it had some pictures. Someone drew like a 'Tweety' bird or something.

Clark said the designs were only up for about two hours before officials made the group clean it up. His parents appealed district Superintendent Craig Jefson's decision, but Jefson sent them a letter explaining why the appeal was denied.

James and the other students were aware that their behavior at this time could prompt their suspension from school and resulting loss of privilege to participate in the graduation ceremony, yet they participated in the disruption anyway. ... I needed to consider the message to current and future students that disruption of the school environment cannot be acceptable in some situations and not others.