Local News

Over 20 Clinton Seniors Suspended After Yearly Prank

Posted June 1, 2006 5:14 a.m. EDT

— A water balloon fight turned into a battle between families and Clinton High School, after more than 20 seniors were suspended for taking part in what they call a tradition.

The Clinton High students had their annual "Senior Day" last week. As usual, the school let them have a water balloon fight on the football field and then dismissed them for the day. However, some came back to campus and threw water balloons at other students as they were driving off campus - something the students said happens every year.

One of the suspended students, Amanda Herring, said, "I don't know exactly how far back it goes, but I know it goes back a long time. It's a tradition every year."

The principal, Jeff Bell, said they broke the rules and may have cracked a windshield. He suspended 22 seniors for four days. They are allowed back for tests on Monday.

"We've got inexperienced drivers and this young man's driving out and he's being bombarded by water balloons ... about 22 students throwing water balloons," said Bell. "His windshield just broke. He could have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal."

Students and their parents have been protesting since the suspensions. They spent Thursday across from the Clinton school system's central office, waving signs and passing around petitions.

"I said there's no way they're going to suspend every one of us, there's no way," said one of the suspended students, Bruce Pate.

While most of the students should still graduate, one senior that WRAL spoke with may not. He's already in danger of failing, and missing the last four days before exams may hurt his chances of passing. The way he sees it, this could be one of the toughest lessons he has ever learned.