This week, high school as they knew it was over for seven Payson High girls. As members of the community, you may or may not have heard of the most recent uproar centered around the seven seniors.
On the night of May 11, what started as an innocent "all in good fun" senior prank turned into a full-blown legal catastrophe. The girls entered campus at 10 p.m., armed with pennies and Super Glue, the plan being to harmlessly glue the coins to the sidewalk in the shape of "Seniors 2008".
In a statement written to Payson High School administration and the school board, the participants said, "We would like to extend our sincerest apologies for any hardship or inconvenience that we may have caused while participating in the traditional senior prank." The pennies were immediately removed that same night, and no permanent damages were sustained.
However, a separately planned prank, involving letting air out of tires at the PUSD bus barn, occurred the same evening.
Simply being on campus, the girls were basically considered "guilty by association" for the bus prank.
That said, the seven penny pranksters were expelled from school and banned from walking at the traditional graduation exercises on May 22, 2008 with the rest of their class.
After offering to do basically anything to have this punishment revoked, from community service to paying for damages, school officials haven't budged, and the sentence stands. The participants of this harmless prank are all excellent students, involved in the community, and in no way deserving of such a harsh and extensive punishment, simply for gluing pennies to a sidewalk.
The idea was to have a fun, good-natured prank that would not harm anyone or damage property. A parent not related to any of the students involved stated, "I think it's clever! It was a harmless prank, and the punishment was far too extensive. Those are good kids!"
The school board is contemplating reinstating the students' right to walk at commencement, but as of yet, the decision remains unchanged.
It is not the intention of this letter to upset or accuse any of the participants involved in either of the pranks, or school officials. As advocates and close friends of these students, we are simply asking that these girls get the chance they deserve to be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments.
We hope to unite our graduating class and the community, ensuring that as many of our fellow students as possible are able to enjoy participating in the Commencement Exercises, celebrating the successful completion of four years of high school. We hope you will agree and give your support to these students.
Lisa Bartoli and Brittney McDaniel, Class of 2008, Payson High School