HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Felony vandalism charges filed against a group of Varina High School students who pulled a senior prank last May were amended to misdemeanor destruction charges during a Thursday court hearing. The trespassing charge each student faced was Nolle prossed. That means while the charges were set aside, they could be brought back at any time.
The students were given deferred disposition. That usually means charges could be dropped if the students stay out of trouble.
More than 1,000 people signed a petition in June that urged Henrico Schools and Police to drop felony charges against the students.
“Senior pranks are a common rite of passage in schools across America. Typically, students who engage in them are asked to make amends by cleaning up their messes, or they may lose the privilege of enjoying senior perks like going on a fun trip,” online petition author Sabrina Stevens wrote.
After a June court hearing the mother of one teenager said she and her daughter would accept any punishment, but thought the felony vandalism charges were excessive.
“Chocolate sauce, syrup, rice, flour, and eggs were thrown onto numerous exterior areas of the school,” Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks said when describing the senior prank. “In addition, trash cans were dumped and placed on the roofs of several buildings, and permanent marker was used to write on doors and walls. Most of the damage was cleaned up quickly that morning.”
The teenagers are due back in court in January.