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Senior prank that ‘went too far’ closes high school, causes thousands in damages

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ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WNCN) — A senior prank overnight “went too far” and resulted in the closure of a North Carolina high school.

Administrators at Roanoke Rapids High School woke up to doors glued shut, trees full of toilet paper, and floors covered with vegetable oil.

“The vandalism was so extensive there was no way we could open today,” said Larry Catalano, acting superintendent of Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools.

Senior pranks are nothing new at the nearly 100-year-old high school.

“It went beyond being a prank,” said Catalano. “It became a crime.”

Seniors usually throw toilet paper in the trees at the school.

“There are laws that we all have to abide by and unfortunately some serious damage was done,” said Police Chief Bobby Martin.

The biggest issues are the students poured vegetable oil all over the 100-year-old hardwood floors and they super glued the door locks. Students also spray-painted windows at the high school.

“You hate for them to do things that are going to impact them later on in life,” said Martin. “These are serious charges from the vandalism being over $4,000 to $7,000.”

Atkins said the oil is “not very easy to clean up” and that getting the glue off the locks will cost money for the school to repair.

Martin said the historic hardwood floors were damaged and some parts of the floor will need to be fixed — if it’s even possible to fix them.

More than 100 cameras scattered across the school caught the vandals in action, so Martin said it will only be a matter of time before arrests are made.

“If somebody knows something, just come forward with it,” said Martin. “The sooner you come and talk about it the better off you will be. We may be able to work something out.”

Catalano said he will consult the student code of conduct when considering punishments that include banning students from walking at graduation.

Roanoke Rapids Police said once they find the people responsible, they will face misdemeanor charges.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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