This story was updated at 2:53 p.m. on June 11, 2011.
Several Herndon High School seniors will not be able to march in their graduation ceremony after playing senior pranks at the school on Wednesday.
Three entrance doors and a trailer door were spray painted by students before school began. During the day, a separate group of students doused the main hallway and stair cases with baby oil, according to school officials.
“Students were held in classes while that was being cleaned up,” said Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre. “But then while this was going on, someone pulled the fire alarm.”
Senior Ashkan Naderi, 18, said he was caught immediately, having deployed only about a fourth of his 20-oz. bottle of baby oil, by a teacher in the band hallway. The teacher left Naderi and came back with a security guard.
“When they caught me, I was straight honest with them and told them everything that I did,” he said. “I really don’t know the lesson. I feel the crime didn’t meet the punishment.”
Naderi said there were six students involved in the baby oil prank, of which three students received a three-day suspension and will still be able to walk at graduation. The other three students, which include Naderi, will not walk and received a seven-day suspension, he said.
Each year, graduating high school seniors are reminded of the penalties for senior pranks, school officials said. These pranks can result in suspension, expulsion, prohibition from marching in graduation ceremonies or criminal charges depending on the severity of the case.
FCPS does not comment on the discipline of students in individual cases.
Herndon’s pranks occurred during the state-mandated Standards of Learning exam week, which is the state’s compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
“We understand the severity of what we did, but no one got caught and our prank failed. They caught us within five minutes,” Naderi said, adding the severity of the baby-oil pranksters’ punishment was raised because of the spray paint outside and the fire alarm pulled that same day. He and other baby oil bandits say they were not involved in either the fire alarm or the spray paint incidents.
Baby oil pranks are a tradition at Herndon High School, Naderi said.
“They’ve been doing baby oil for years and no one got in trouble,” he said. “I just found out I can’t walk [at graduation]. What [school administrators] did didn’t just punish me, but my family. My mom and dad were really looking forward to this. I’m hoping I can still attend [the ceremony] and watch.”
Herndon High School students are mounting a Twitter campaign in response to senior pranksters being told they would not march at graduation.
Herndon High School Principal William Bates issued a letter to parents, students and staff following the incidents.
“Today’s incidents caused a major safety concern for every student and adult in the building,” he wrote in the letter.