Young vandals in masks hit high school in Keller district

05/15/2014 6:00 PM

05/15/2014 6:01 PM

Keller school district officials and Fort Worth police are investigating vandalism inside Timber Creek High School, where end-of-year pranks have resulted in one arrest and several suspensions in the past few years.

Security videos from early Thursday show that five young men wearing masks spray-painted words on walls, knocked over desks and moved chairs around inside the cafeteria, said Kevin Kinley, district director of safety and security.

Kinley said investigators are trying to determine how they entered the school. An unlocked hatch on the roof seems to be the most likely entry point.

The school’s burglar alarm went off at 12:10 a.m., bringing Fort Worth police and district officials to the campus. Kinley said Fort Worth police brought in canine units to determine whether the intruders were still inside.

Officials are assessing the damage, which appears to be minor.

Police will add extra patrols in the area after hours, Kinley said, and security officers will check roof hatches every night.

The vandals could face charges of criminal trespassing and criminal mischief, he said.

Timber Creek Principal Todd Tunnell notified parents Thursday morning and let them know that pranks will not be tolerated.

“Appropriate consequences will be given to students who engage in pranks. For seniors this does include the loss of graduation privileges,” he wrote.

Keller district officials started this month trying to prevent a repeat of previous misbehavior. At the beginning of May, an extra police officer was assigned to each of the four high schools in addition to the student resource officer and two security specialists.

Two years ago, 12 seniors were banned from commencement — eight from Central High School and four from Timber Creek — after pranks at the two schools.

At Timber Creek, students released snakes, rats, crickets and birds inside the school, set off stink bombs and threw balloons filled with baby oil. At Central High, a lunchtime food fight got out of hand. Keller High seniors staged a mock battle with play swords, water guns and flour.

Last year, a Timber Creek senior was arrested when students tried to start a food fight. Another student was suspended for his comments on social media about pranks.

“We take it very, very seriously,” Kinley said. “We have zero tolerance for pranks.”

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