Dozens of students in trouble after senior prank at Gallup High
"Illegal, damaging and disrespectful,” are the words Gallup McKinley County Schools is using to describe a senior prank at Gallup High.
Parents and students tell KOB 4 the prank involved streamers, toilet paper and glitter, and was cleaned up within two hours, but now some of those students could be facing charges.
"They’ve been through a pandemic, made it this far, still 4.0 students why, why, why now, so close to graduating?" one parent said.
According to a report the school filed with the Gallup Police Department, the students caused zero dollars’ worth of damage, with "no items identified ‘as broken’ but more as ‘trashed.’" Some students say they tried to start cleaning up the mess before the night was even over.
GMCS still dished out some hefty punishments that parents say contradict district policy. For first offenses of “Disruptive and Dangerous Tactics,” parents should be notified, students referred to a counselor and suspended for no longer than three days, but a lot of the students involved in the prank have been suspended indefinitely. Students were supposed to have a hearing with the school board this week, but parents say it was postponed without explanation. In the meantime, students are barred from classes and sports.
Alyssa Gonzales is the captain of the dance team at Gallup High. She told KOB 4 she has been unable to perform and lost a scholarship because of her involvement in the prank.
"It just – it’s really hard because it was my senior year,” she said. “You think it’s going to be fun. I didn’t damage anything. You know, I didn’t – I didn’t have the key to get in, and they just keep trying to charge me as a criminal, and I’m not a criminal. It just hurts like when they’re trying to accuse me of things without showing the evidence, without telling me, without questioning me."
KOB 4 tried to get in touch with the principal of Gallup High but did not hear back.
Gallup McKinley County Schools sent us a statement saying, “the district is highly disappointed by the illegal, damaging and disrespectful behavior by several students in the early morning of April 1, 2022. Breaking and entering, vandalism, and destruction of school property is illegal and considered criminal activity." You can read the full statement here.
The district’s statement mentioned graffiti, but parents and students told KOB 4 that was the work of students from another school. We have not been able to confirm that, and it was not included in the police report. Officials say part of the investigation includes identifying all those involved.
The statement from the school also mentions breaking and entering, but the police report states it is unknown how students got into the school because there was no damage to doors or broken windows. Students told KOB 4 that school gates and doors were open when they arrived.