A senior prank at Labette County High School Thursday morning has many area residents screaming, no harm, no fowl.

They were not free-range chickens losing their way on the loose in the school this week.

Around 9 a.m. Thursday, students, including some seniors, brought the chickens into the school as a prank.

“I guess to cause disruption to the day, they brought live chickens into the bathroom, and then put them out in the hallway in the administration building,” principal Shane Holtzman said. “Senior finals were taking place during first and second hour, so with chickens being let loose in the main hall, it was definitely a disruption. We had to get them out of the building.”

Chicken wrangling was not how administrators, staff and teachers had planned to spend their morning. Contrary to some rumors, no chickens were killed or injured in the process of their removal from the building.

Generally speaking, Holtzman said if a student is given out-of-school suspension, he or she is considered to be a student who is no longer in good standing and therefore not allowed to participate in school activities. Such would hold true for an athlete, a student in FFA or a student graduating. Despite seniors completing their last day of school already, graduation is still considered a school activity.

With graduation being Sunday, dealing with a disciplinary issue in the last week of school is frustrating, and definitely not something school staff was planning.

“We’ve had a great school year, and we are graduating a great senior class,” Holtzman said. “Unfortunately this has taken away from that. We have a great tradition of having a formal graduation ceremony that our community and school look forward to and it is something our alums and students can be proud of. That is what we want our focus to be on.”

Facebook was blowing up Friday with angry statements against administration for not allowing kids to be kids and criticizing them for their lack of sense of humor over a prank that caused no physical damage to the building. Outrage also was expressed over the students being expelled and administration supposedly refusing to let the seniors walk across the stage Sunday.

Holtzman said they looked at the discipline and possible consequences and invited the seniors and their parents to meet with administration at 4 p.m. Friday to discuss the matter.

“We gave them the opportunity to accept performing community service for the schools — 40 hours here at the school,” Holtzman said. “If they choose to do that, they will be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. I hope they take advantage of it. We want it to be a positive experience for them.”

“This is not something we wanted to have to deal with before graduation, but there has to be consequences for actions,” Holtzman said.

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