A group of more than 60 students at Teaneck High School probably aren’t laughing now after what they called a senior prank -- greasing doorknobs, flipping over chairs and desks and urinating throughout the school -- led to their arrests on burglary and criminal mischief charges on Thursday.
Of the 62 Teaneck HS students arrested, 24 were adults and 38 were juveniles, Teaneck Acting Police Chief Robert Carney told a news conference, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The adults appeared Thursday in Teaneck Municipal Court.
Teaneck Police Sgt. John Garland told CBS New York that he believed the seniors didn’t use their best judgment and may have overlooked the serious consequences of the prank.
“If this was a senior class prank, I just don’t believe that a lot of them realize the seriousness of it as far as breaking into the building,” Garland said. “That’s a burglary, and I don’t think they understand that. It’s a very serious offense. Not to mention the criminal mischief, the vandalism that went on.”
The prank, which occurred early Thursday morning, included spraying silly string on the floors of Teaneck High School, taping hot dogs to lockers, flipping desks and chairs, urinating in the halls and greasing doors with Vaseline, according to the Star-Ledger.
While all 62 students were charged with criminal mischief and burglary, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office can choose either to indict the adults or send their cases back to Teaneck Municipal Court, which means they may face lesser charges, according to the Bergen Record.
The reaction to the prank from parents was mixed. Some said authorities were being too harsh on the students while others said the students showed bad judgment.
“I know he thought it was fun and games, but it’s real life,” parent Carlos Garrison, whose child was one of the 62 students arrested, told CBS New York. “It’s not fun and games.”
Parent Pat D’Onofrio said the students didn’t deserve to be handcuffed.
“It’s a yearly prank that’s done,” he said. “The police should not have arrested these kids.”
Despite the damage done, Teaneck High School was open Thursday. Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said the New Jersey high school was cleaned and “teaching continues as we speak.”
She said in a statement that the school district “is considering the consequences it will impose on the students implicated” in the prank, according to the Record.
Some students who spoke to the Star-Ledger said they knew about the prank but chose not to take part in it because they feared the consequences of being caught. But they said they understood why their classmates chose to commit the prank.
“They wanted to leave with a bang,” senior Mohamed Berety told the Star-Ledger. “You gotta leave with a bang right?”