Costly school vandalism splits opinions

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Costly school vandalism splits opinions
By Jessica Farrish, Register-Herald

Like many parents, Summers County resident James Kessler, 40, can remember senior pranks going on at area high schools when he was a kid. 

Playing one last joke on a favorite teacher or principal has been a time-honored tradition for many graduating seniors who are leaving behind their high schools and communities for college and work. 

Online sites for teens and adults – Buzzfeed, CafeMom, Seventeen, even the "catalogue of ideas" site Pinterest – boast headlines like "26 of the Most Epic Senior Pranks of All Time" and "13 Senior Pranks Even the Principal Will Laugh At."

On May 1, the tight-knit communities of Summers County High School in Hinton were rocked by school officials' discovery of damage inside the local school. Within two days, West Virginia State Police had arrested nine 18-year-old SCHS seniors – Jay Hess, Kegan Hartwell, Brittney Justice, Whittney Justice, Dacota Thomas, Jonathan Kessler, Ashton McNicholas, Dakota New and Travis McMillion – for their alleged participation in what school officials report was around $9,000 worth of damage to the school.

The arrests of the nine students have caused the small communities surrounding SCHS to talk, and residents report that neighbors disagree on what they believe would be a suitable consequence for the students' alleged actions.

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