Tallassee students' charges dropped, but still may not graduate

Tallassee City School leaders dropped burglary and criminal mischief charges against seven high school students. The students were arrested Monday after school officials say they took a school prank too far.

Even though the school isn't pressing criminal charges, that doesn't mean there'll be a happy ending to the story. They may find themselves in the audience at graduation, instead of walking on the stage.

School pranks are nothing new for Superintendent Jim Jeffers.

"This is the worst I've seen in the 15 years I've been a Superintendent," he said.  "It was destructive to be honest about it."

The prank was carried out Sunday night. School personnel discovered it the next morning and called police.

Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers said, "Seven individuals were found to be involved in the events and were arrested."

Rodgers say the students began by rolling the trees outside the school, but he say it ceased to be a prank when they broke into the school.

"There was some damage to the bathrooms.  And also in the stairwells, there was some lubricant, believed to be some type of oil, that had been poured up and down the stairwells. That caused a big hazard to faculty and students," Rodgers told us.

Neither the students nor their parents wanted to go on camera, but they told us off-camera they feel the punishment is too severe. Some of them set up a Facebook page for the students, urging the school to "Let Them Walk".

While Superintendent Jeffers says he can't comment on their individual punishment, he says they haven't been settled yet.

"There have to be consequences though," he said.

Not all parents believe the punishment is unfair. Many wrote to us saying they believe the school did the right thing. We'll continue to follow the story as graduation approaches.

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