Students face losing prom and commencement privileges this year if they take senior week fun too far.
Principal Brad Tate warned Lawrence High School seniors today that the administration would not tolerate inappropriate behavior during a week traditionally reserved for pranks.
Senior week, a 22-year-old rite of spring, is now half a week. The school will not sanction senior week activities until Wednesday, Tate said. Dress-up days, parades or water-gun battles could draw serious consequences today and Tuesday.
Tate said he wanted to avoid a circus atmosphere that builds over four days as it did last year, when bottle rockets shot down school hallways. Seniors also drained 160 gallons of motor oil from 41 school buses, causing thousands of dollars of damage.
"It's no longer innocent, pranky kind of stuff," Tate said in an interview this morning. "It's become far more dangerous and disruptive."
Teachers were asked to stay in the halls during passing period, and school security was on alert. Punishments include losing prom or commencement privileges.
"Everyone is so afraid to do stuff," senior Libby Transmeier said. "The deans won't give us a chance to do anything."
Her friend Dana Cunningham agreed.
"It doesn't even feel like senior week."
Mischief has a way of crossing the party line, however.
Toilet paper streamed from trees and bushes this morning at the district service center, 3705 Clinton Pkwy., and letters spelled "Seniors '95."
"It's technically, within the student body, still going on," senior Matt Hartman said, adding that the change could make the situation worse. "People have something to fight against."
Hartman was primed for the senior project: building a red and black brick patio for tailgate parties before sporting events, a tradition the seniors began this year. He stopped senior dean Dick Patterson in the hallway.
"We got the information on the patio," he said. "And we got four brick samples, so everything's going right."
The two slapped hands, and Patterson explained that he'd like to see senior week feature more positive activities.
Tate said, "This class has been great. They put up with the construction. It made it doubly tough to cut back on things."
- Are Lawrence High School officials correct in clamping down on Senior Week activities? Answer today's J-W Access question on page 2B.