A Teaneck High School prank gone awry has resulted in dozens of high school seniors – more than 60 students in all – arrested and charged with vandalism, burglary and criminal mischief. The New Jersey school was broken into sometime in the early morning hours today, reports NewJersey.com. Police responding to a tripped alarm at approximately 2 a.m. this morning found a wretched scene upon arriving at the school.
Students had urinated in the hallways, flipped over desks, slathered Vaseline on classroom doorknobs, sprayed silly string all over the school, taped hot dogs to lockers, scrawled graffiti on the walls and caused general damage to the high school. Law enforcement agencies responded while the students were still inside of the school, and literally took waves of suspects away in patrol cars. Police are investigating who initiated the prank and how students were able to break into the school.
Acting Teaneck police Chief Robert Carney said that when officers arrived, students were seen fleeing out of exits while others attempted to hide inside of the school. A total of 62 arrests were made, though police say many more were likely inside and escaped. Out of the 62 total, 24 students will be charged as adults because they were at least 18 years of age. The other 38 juveniles were released to their parents, Carney said.
A total of ten law enforcement agencies responded to the school. Teaneck Police Sgt John Garland said the damage done by the students was “mostly cosmetic and had been cleaned up.” NorthJersey.com reports that the adult students appeared en masse today before Municipal Court Judge James E. Young Jr. The judge said that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office will now have to decide whether to indict the students on the arresting charges or opt to refer the cases back to municipal courts for less serious disciplinary actions.
Television cameras and reporters packed the courtroom after news of the mob-like group of vandals was leaked. One vocal parent complained during the proceedings about the “overwhelming presence of television cameras.” The unnamed woman refused to identify herself. “I am just angry right now,” she said. “These students have rights. They should be able to say whether they want to be recorded or not.” Court proceedings are open to the public.
The school district “is considering the consequences it will impose on the students implicated,” Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said in a written statement that she read aloud at the press conference. Pinsak confirmed that the school was cleaned up to the best of their ability this morning and that classes were not interrupted. “Teaching continues as we speak,” Pinsak said.