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Archive for Friday, May 1, 1998

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS FIND PROM WEEK TIME FOR PRANKS

May 1, 1998

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``Prank week'' continues to be popular with seniors at Lawrence's high schools, but school officials and police aren't sharing in the laughs.

Officials at Lawrence's two high schools are emphasizing the prom over pranks, but recent vandalism across the city shows traditions die hard.

Lawrence High School and Free State High School will have their proms Saturday night, and the week before the prom has grown into ``prank week'' for graduating seniors.

School administrators, police and the victims of the so-called pranks, however, are not laughing.

``This is far beyond (toilet papering) someone's house,'' Sgt. George Wheeler said, referring to a house near Alvamar golf course that was vandalized Tuesday night.

On Wednesday night, 17 students were stopped by police near the same house, in the 1700 block of Prestwick. Wheeler said pellet guns and paint ball guns were confiscated, along with an illegal dagger. Like other houses that have been targeted this week, a student who was not a senior lives there.

The owner of the house declined to press charges, and the students were released.

Eggs were thrown at a house in the 3100 block of Tomahawk Drive on Thursday night.

On Wednesday afternoon, an 18-year-old senior wrapped athletic tape around a 16-year-old sophomore in a locker room at Lawrence High School. A coach freed the student, and school officials called police.

``In recent years, there's been some hazing that's taken place in regards to seniors, particularly duct-taping or tying up classmates,'' LHS Principal Dick Patterson said. ``We've worked hard to decrease that, and I think we have, but, unfortunately, there has been a case of that this year.''

Patterson said he couldn't discuss what disciplinary actions the student faces.

``I can tell you that the school has done everything to take actions to discourage this from happening,'' he said.

Jack Winerock spent Thursday morning cleaning the Toyota Corolla his daughter drives to school. Eggs, butter and flour had been smeared on the car, and although no damage was caused, Winerock said he's glad the concoction didn't stay on the car for an extended period of time.

``There should be other things seniors can do this week that are less harmful to other people,'' he said. ``You take a little of that butter, crack a couple of eggs and put flour in there, the result is pretty messy.''

Both high schools are under 24-hour surveillance to deter acts of vandalism during this week, possibly causing an increase in vandalism at underclassmen's homes. In past years, seniors drained oil from school buses and cut down goal posts at the schools.

``These are things we cannot tolerate; that's beyond the fun part,'' Patterson said.

Classes disrupted

A false fire alarm at Free State High School interrupted classes Wednesday afternoon. The person who pulled the alarm has not been identified.

``My expectations are pretty simple,'' FSHS Principal Joe Snyder said. ``I don't think any pranks are necessary or needed because they cause other people difficulty and interfere with instruction.''

Larry Hamilton, a Lawrence police officer who serves as the school resource officer at LHS, said some students' ideas of pranks are against the law.

``We're doing what we can to curb the activity to make sure it doesn't get out of hand,'' Hamilton said.

Patterson said efforts to tone down the extreme cases of vandalism have been successful.

``Our kids have done an excellent job this week. The kids and staff have worked hard to make this prom week and not prank week,'' he said.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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