About 30 Crispus Attucks students will not walk at graduation due to damage from ‘senior prank’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A senior prank at Crispus Attucks High School resulted in about 30 students being removed from Thursday's graduation ceremony.

Parents of the students say they went to the high school to put balloons in an office. Three parents were there to "supervise" the prank.

However, some of the students did more. Officials say there was syrup spread on floors, a fire extinguisher went off and someone also pulled the fire alarm, causing the sprinkler system to go off, causing additional damage.

The parents say the damage was done by a small group of the seniors or possibly students not even graduating and not everyone should be punished.

"They are trying to punish the kids, but what they are doing by not allowing the kids to walk is punishing the families. You have a lot of families here. You have a lot of Hispanic families. This is the event for their lifetime. They are not going to college. They are not going to do anything else," said Robert Hawthorne, parent to one of the seniors, Kayla Hawthorne, who happens to be the class valedictorian.

The parents were told the students involved wouldn't be walking at graduation and they wouldn't get their diplomas until they make restitution for the damage.

Graduating senior Elizabeth Huerta said the punishment is something her and her family will never forget.

“I’m the first to graduate out of my family and it’s not fair,” Huerta said. “It meant a lot to (my parents.)  I’m the first to graduate. I accomplished something that my parents didn’t or any of my family members.”

Indianapolis Public Schools issued the following statement:

"Indianapolis Public Schools is aware that on Tuesday, June 6, a group of Crispus Attucks students and multiple adults vandalized various areas of the school building, a local and national historical landmark, in an effort to carry out a "senior prank." The matter is under investigation by IPS Police. Students involved in this incident will not be allowed to participate in today's graduation ceremony and are required to participate in a campus beautification effort as restitution for the damage caused. IPS will not tolerate criminal activity of any kind, in the name of senior pranks or otherwise. Anyone found guilty of committing such acts will face harsh penalties."

Students are expected to protest the decision outside the school with their caps and gowns on. Their parents may join them.

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