Henrico may pursue criminal action for senior prank at Varina

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – It's being called the Senior Prank, but the people who vandalized Henrico's Varina High School may soon face some serious charges once they're found.

Naming rights on Varina High School belonged to vandals this morning, who tagged the building with offensive words, and the phrase "Seniors 2010." They also jammed the locks on 90 percent of the doors.

Lashonya Hutton has a son, whose 10th grade class was delayed, by about 35 minutes.

"They should be allowed to clean up what they did, and apologize," Hutton said.

But it's likely that won't be enough. School leaders plan to track down and punish, severely, whoever's responsible for this apparent prank.

"I don't know that you can prevent these types of things from happening, but what you can do is spread the  word about what happens when you're caught," said Henrico County Schools spokesperson Mychael Dickerson.

The options include suspension and expulsion, not to mention a bill for the cost of cleanup. Faculty members don't expect the investigation to last very long.

"It's amazing, you think they'll never tell on each other. But sooner or later, throughout the day, and  probably in the next couple of days, names will start to come out," Dickerson said.

Seniors involved also risk being banned from their own graduation day, something in which Terris Jenkins' daughter took part, three years ago.

"It doesn't show that they're really grown up too much, you can use other words to have fun," Jenkins said.

It's all because the school describes it more like a crime, which in fact it is. An expensive disruption to the school day, on the eve of SOL testing.

"This is not just a prank. There will be disciplinary action, and there could be criminal action," Dickerson said.

If this does eventually go to the police, it's a Class 6 felony, because the damage exceeds $1,000 in value. That brings jail time into play, but more likely a fine of up to $2,500. If the student can't pay, the court can make the parents responsible.

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