Dunbar High School’s “School Wide Expectations” policy specifically prohibits senior pranks. However, that hasn’t deterred at least some students from moving forward with what some refer to as a tradition.
This year’s first public prank initially appeared to have been perpetrated by the junior class on May 8. Written in black paint on the front entryway were the words “C/O 2016 Junior.” Several trees on campus were covered in toilet paper.
By the afternoon, the words were barely visible and most of the toilet paper had been removed without much fanfare. By the afternoon, several students were observed removing toilet paper from the trees.
One student was caught, and another came forward voluntarily. Beyond that there have been at least two more who have confessed. The culprits (so far) are not juniors as the graffiti stated.
Additionally, the administration said that three more students, wearing masks, are on camera committing vandalism around 2 a.m. on Sunday, May 10.
On the morning of May 11, students and staff entered the building to neon green and pink spray paint on the floor, walls and even on the lenses of the security cameras. In the hallway outside the band rooms were the words, “2015 we out this b**ch.” On the walls throughout the front foyer were randomly placed scrawls of “15.”
In the gym, the walls around the Dog Pound, and even gym mats, were spray painted. The outside of the building was also not spared. An illustration adorned the window outside the theater entrance, and the bricks were painted with “2015” as well.
Most notably, though, was a vulgarity spray painted on the outside windows of the cafeteria. Before school started, the school custodians were already busy cleaning it off.
Head custodian Mr. Steve Coofer said, “Pranks used to be easy to remove. They used to make [senior pranks] clean, simple…now they’re doing damage. This makes the whole senior class look bad.”
Mr. Coofer said that the clean up on the May 11 prank is going to take around 12-15 hours and includes pressure washing, painting, and a lot of scrubbing.
And that is what is bothering many students who were not involved in the prank.
“It’s extremely embarrassing,” said senior Jerod Cohn. “It doesn’t represent me at all.”
Senior Lesley Carter agrees. She said that she thinks that students who pull these pranks feel that they are “sticking it to the man,” but that they are misguided.
“I don’t know who they think they are sticking it to because the principals or teachers aren’t the ones who have to clean it up,” she said.
Taking it further, senior John Fiske is collecting donations for the custodians to show them that they are appreciated, and members of the Anime Club wrote notes to the custodians thanking them as well.
Fiske has offered to continue to collect money throughout the day, and can be reached via his email. He said he’s hoping to be able to put the money toward a gift card.
“Some kids do care,” said Mr. Coofer. “And that’s appreciated.”
Custodian Joe Harberson shared a similar story. While he and Coofer were cleaning the cafeteria windows, a “Good Samaritan” approached them. “He just walked up and said he was sorry some kids did that, and asked if he could help us,” he said. They declined the student’s offer, he said, but were appreciative of it.
Principal Betsy Rains made an overhead announcement before the school day started sharing her disappointment in the students who perpetrated the “criminal” activity. She said, “This is embarrassing to the school community, especially the senior class.”
Asking that “someone come forward to do the right thing,” she said that there is a cash reward for information. The administration is still open to information that will help identify the students responsible for the damage.
Update May 13: The three students involved were apprehended–one voluntarily came forward. Their consequences have not been divulged.