Senior prank goes too far at Baldwin Middle-Senior High School

After classrooms vandalized, principal says 2 dozen students helped cleaned up

By Corley Peel - Reporter

Still images from videos showing damage inside Baldwin Middle-High

BALDWIN, Fla. - What started as a senior prank at Baldwin Middle-Senior High School turned into vandalism.  

Videos captured students knocking over desks and throwing chairs inside classrooms Thursday night.

"Certainly disheartening, and you’re disappointed in kids that you love," said Dr. Denise Hall, principal of Baldwin Middle-High. 

A student who is a senior at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, told News4Jax by phone that this was not how their senior prank was supposed to happen. 

“We had a plan to have a beach theme. We were going to have kiddie pools and water balloons, and we had a plan to have a water slide in the courtyard, and that’s not what happened," the student said. "It just turned into vandalism.”

A window was shattered with a chair. A fire extinguisher was even sprayed in a room and in a hallway, adding an extra layer of mess. 

To turn things around, Hall said nearly two dozen students came back to the school to help clean up. 

“I tell them all the time, sometimes it's not about fault, it's about fixing," Hall said. "So I’m hoping they’ll learn to be young adults that can make a mistake, but when they understand what the mistake is, they come back to fix it.”

Students said they're disappointed in their classmates who turned an innocent prank into a vicious act.

“It's disappointing because this not only ruins senior activities, but it also ruins senior pranks for classes even after 2019," the unnamed student said.

Hall said it's up to the seniors to pay for the damages.

The principal also told News4Jax they are reviewing security video and videos posted on social media to find out who is responsible for the damage. She said appropriate action will be taken, but it's still under investigation.  

As for whether the seniors involved will still get to walk at graduation, Hall said that hasn’t been decided yet, but they are speaking with the students and their families to determine how the students should be disciplined.

Below is the message that was sent by the principal to students' parents. 

"I want to make you aware that you may see several news reports this evening about a senior-class prank gone awry at our school.  I am disappointed that with all of the great things happening at our school, this is the incident that will be spotlighted in the community.  I am also deeply disappointed in the actions of those who took part in this incident. We are in the process of investigating and have been in contact with several students and their families, and appropriate action is taking place.  This incident does not accurately reflect the students at Baldwin Middle-High. What I believe does reflect who we are as a school community are the more than 40 senior-class members who immediately came to the school yesterday evening when they heard about what happened and assisted in the clean-up. Their actions truly represent the pride and the unity we all share as a school community.

"Once again, I appreciate your support and your continued partnership as we work to make Baldwin Middle-High school an amazing place for our students to learn and thrive."

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.