30 Atoka High School seniors not walking at graduation after senior prank

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 10:47 PM CDT
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ATOKA, Oklahoma (KXII) - Thirty Atoka High School seniors will not walk at the school’s graduation this weekend because of a school prank the superintendent says went too far.

Parents say the students went into the school after hours though an unlocked side door and while inside tipped desks, stacked chairs, ripped down streamers, sticky-noted the walls and greased door knobs.

Several students inside captured the chaos on video.

“It was just one of those heartbreaking phone calls you get,” said Wade Snow, who’s son is one of the 30 seniors that will not be able to participate in the graduation ceremony this weekend. “I believe in punishment, but I also believe there is a way you punish kids in the right way and I just can’t imagine robing those kids of their dreams over a prank.”

Atoka Public Schools Federal Programs Director Kathy Perkins has been with the class of 2021 since the first grade and called the situation “disappointing and heartbreaking.”

“(Not having these kids walk at graduation) is a difficult decision to make,” Perkins said. “It is back and forth and you’re a judge that you never want to be but you lay down the rules and you have to be true to that.”

Perkins said there is still a “point of contention” as to whether or not a teacher tipped off the students about how to enter the school after hours.

“If there was a teacher that had said it was okay, I think that that she had said ‘no I didn’t say that,’” Perkins said.

Nita Raney said her son was the student who lined the hallways of the school with sticky notes. She said she expected the prank, but didn’t expect the punishment.

“You move some desks, chairs or whatever and I mean you didn’t bust out any windows or didn’t splatter paint everywhere, I didn’t see what the problem was<” Raney said.

Atoka Public School superintendent Jay McAdams says as of now the 30 students involved won’t be walking at graduation this weekend. McAdams called the situation “unfortunate” and said “no one on the school board is happy with the incident.”

McAdams said they are still investigating how the students got into the school after hours but no permanent damage was done to the building. One maintenance man said staff members were in the school until 3:30 am Thursday morning cleaning up the mess.

Parents say the tip about the unlocked side door the students used to gain entrance to the building came from a teacher.

Another parent said they plan to hold a separate graduation for the students involved at the Choctaw Community Center this weekend.

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