Senior pranks lead to stern penalties for some Keller district graduates
KELLER -- Some seniors at Keller's Central and Timber Creek high schools will not be allowed to walk across the stage at Saturday's graduation ceremonies because of their roles in end-of-year pranks.
Nine seniors at Central and four at Timber Creek are being punished for instigating the pranks last week.
According to a district news release, the students "created an unsafe environment through reckless disregard for the safety of other students, and were witnessed by campus staff or administrators doing so."
Additional students at Central, Timber Creek and Keller high schools are being punished to a lesser degree.
Fewer than 10 students from Keller High and more than 10 each from Central and Timber Creek will be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies at the Fort Worth Convention Center. But they will be separated from their classmates before the ceremony and closely monitored.
"I think students need to realize that their actions have consequences," school board President Kevin Stevenson said. "I'm pleased the district is taking a fairly hard stance."
Stevenson said he expects other disciplinary action for underclassmen who participated in last week's chaotic events.
On Friday, Fort Worth police were called to Central to break up a food fight and to Timber Creek, where students had released rats, crickets, snakes and birds and had thrown stink bombs and balloons filled with baby oil. Central and Timber Creek are in far north Fort Worth.
At Keller High on May 23, students had a mock battle that included toy weapons, water balloons and flour.
One senior at Timber Creek told the Star-Telegram last week that "it was pretty wild. It was like six snakes, a bunch of rats ... hundreds of crickets and little yellow birds."
The student said stink bombs were also set off in the cafeteria and hallways, creating more chaos.
"It was insane," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."
Keller High's prank was supposed to be a takeoff on The Hunger Game s, senior Conor Patterson said. Seniors would pretend to fight and "play dead" during the passing period.
Administration officials knew what the students had planned and announced over the school intercom that they were not allowed to throw anything or use water.
Things got out of hand, with students using water guns, water balloons and bags of flour. Patterson said that 15 to 20 students stayed after the prank to help clean up but that janitors had to do most of the work because of the flour-water mixture.
That night on Facebook, senior Kaitlin Fracassi said she felt bad for the janitors and suggested that students collect donations to give them gift cards.
Fracassi and Patterson approached seniors for $1 donations and collected $220. Fracassi bought Wal-Mart gift cards and gave them to the janitors.
Patterson said, "We didn't want to leave Keller on a bad note."
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231