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Seniors play fowl prank

June 01, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Four Waynesboro Area Senior High School seniors were suspended Monday for releasing 28 young chickens in the school building early Friday as an end-of-the-school-year prank.

Principal Larry Bricker said the four students, whose names he would not release, will be allowed to graduate with their class.

It took police, Humane Society and school officials about two hours to round up the chickens and four school custodians spent 21/2 hours cleaning up the mess they left behind, Bricker said.

Marsha Stoops, administrative director for the Antietam Humane Society, said school staffers had caught most of the chickens with nets by the time she arrived at the school after receiving a call from police at 7:30 a.m.

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The chickens were not injured, she said. They were kept in an empty dumpster until an area farmer came to pick them up, she said.

"Somebody in the school knew a farmer who would take them," Stoops said.

Bricker said the four students confessed and apologized for the incident on Monday morning.

"I don't think they intended to be malicious, but they had no agricultural background. I don't think they realized what a mess those chickens would make," he said.

Bricker said none of the four had ever been in trouble in school.

"They were remorseful and threw themselves at my mercy," he said. Their punishment includes paying a total of $90 in restitution, he said.

Bricker said he suspended them for the last three days of school, a time seniors usually relish because that's when they say their goodbyes to classmates. Classes for seniors end Wednesday.

"I didn't want to overreact, but I wanted to make the punishment stiff enough," he said.

Waynesboro Police Chief Glenn Phenicie said Bricker will not press charges against the students.

"This is a year-end tradition with seniors, but this is above and beyond what we consider to be normal," Phenicie said. "Sometimes a class will ... spread beer cans on the school lawn or something like that, but this is the first time something was done inside the school. I hope this isn't a tradition that will escalate," he said.

Phenicie said the seniors usually wait until the eve of the last day of school to carry out their prank, a time when school security guards work all night.

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