Deputies: Palatka High student arrested after throwing pie at principal

18-year-old charged with third-degree felony in graduation ceremony incident

Zavier Valencia

PALATKA, Fla. – An 18-year-old was arrested after he threw a pie at the Palatka High School principal during Friday's graduation ceremony, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said. 

Zavier Valencia faces a third-degree felony charge of battery on an education employee and a second-degree charge of disrupting the peace during a school assembly. 

According to the arrest report, Palatka High School Principal James Stout was handing out diplomas to graduates when Valencia approached him with a pie in his hand. 

Valencia then tried to hit Stout in the face with the pie, but the principal threw his hands up to block his face and the dessert, instead, struck him in the arms, deputies said. 

It's unclear what kind of pie was thrown.

As Valencia was escorted off the school's football field where the commencement ceremony was taking place, he told deputies he did not understand why he was being arrested, saying, "it was just a senior prank," the arrest report said. 

Valencia was booked into the Putnam County Jail, but was released Saturday after posting $4,000 bond.

Putnam County Schools Superintendent Rick Surrency issued a statement that reads, "The pie incident was very unfortunate and I regret that it took away from such a distinguished ceremony."