East Tenn. students want lesser punishment after senior prank

Sequoyah High School
Courtesy: WATE-TV

MADISONVILLE (WATE) – Many seniors at one Monroe County high school are protesting the superintendent’s decision to not let them participate in graduation activities after a senior prank gone wrong.

Several Sequoyah High School seniors took part in the prank that left the school a mess.

Dead animals, trash and bugs were left all over the school, and school officials are calling it vandalism.

The school resource officer, James Fisher, was fired for allegedly helping them and the principal, Gary Cole, was put on unpaid suspension.

Thursday night at the Monroe County School Board meeting several parents and students were asking for a lesser punishment.

Many of the students say it was a select few who did the most damage.

“Whenever I got here I walked through the whole entire school, and it was already bad. They was already letting out crickets, and the shaving cream was already on the computers,” said senior Chancy Welshan.

Superintendent Tim Blankenship decided anyone seen on the school security cameras the night of the prank cannot walk at graduation or participate in any other graduation activities.

“It is important enough that all of the evidence should be able to be presented on both sides before a decision like this is made,” said parent Deborah Brickner.

School Board member Jo Cagle spoke up during the meeting agreeing with them.

“There was kids that walked in the building and left. There were kids that did a lot of stuff, and I don’t feel like they should all be punished the same,” she said.

Several of the students who were involved in that prank and their parents were hoping to get the chance to speak in a public forum during Thursday’s meeting, but that did not happen.

Blankenship did take a moment to say he stands behind his decision not to let them walk at graduation.

“Doing the right thing is not always the popular thing. I made my decision. I prayed about it. That’s all I have to say on that matter,” he told the crowd.

While it was not the answer they wanted, the students say they are still hoping for a lesser punishment.

“This isn’t who we are. We don’t want to be labeled by some prank, the Class of 2015 at Sequoyah High School is this and this is what they left,” said senior Shane Moore.

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