Seven seniors at East Carter High School in the rural northeast corner of Kentucky were prohibited from participating in commencement ceremonies because they released thousands of crickets inside the school last Thursday.
School district officials are not happy with the practical joke, reports local NBC-affiliate WSAZ, not least because of the costly consequences.
“Expenses will continue to rise as cleanup efforts are still underway,” the district said in a statement. “It is the stance of the Carter County School District that these actions, while meant to be a prank of sorts, are unacceptable.”
According to WSAZ, the pranksters and their parents must also pay several thousand dollars to cover extermination expenses.
Meanwhile, some parents and fellow seniors aren’t happy with the decision to prevent the students from attending graduation ceremonies.
“We’ve been to school with them since we were in diapers,” senior Alissa Lawson told WSAZ. “It’s not fair to us to not have them there with us.”
At least one local politician has also weighed in on the prank and its aftermath, according to the NBC station.
“Graduation is one of those lifetime milestones,” opined Robin Webb, a Kentucky state senator. “I think it’s a little overreaching.”
Webb also noted that the students have had no disciplinary problems in their pasts.
As Yahoo! blogger Sarah B. Weir notes, graduation pranks are a very humdrum springtime ritual across the country. Graffiti appears. Trees get covered in toilet paper.
In fact, the crickets prank has already been pulled at least once this year. At Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio, students liberated crickets as well as a few mice in the cafeteria. The result was pretty hectic, reports Cleveland Fox-affiliate WJW.
The crickets prank also happened in 2010, reports WUSA, the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. A student at Thomas Stone High School in Maryland broke into the school through a window he had left open earlier and let loose approximately 150 crickets on the floor.
That student ordered the crickets via the internet. It is not clear how the students at East Carter High obtained their cloud of insects.