Several Gilbert seniors banned from graduation due to on-campus prank

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GILBERT – Several students about to receive their diplomas from Williams Field High School in Gilbert say they are not being allowed to take part in the biggest event of their high school lives.

Some of the graduating seniors took shaving cream and water balloons to school last week and made a mess and now students who say they were not even involved are being told they cannot walk across the stage at graduation.

Chelsea Holmgren, a senior at the school, tells 3TV, “Because of a silly senior prank that I wasn't even involved in, I can't walk at graduation."

Holmgren says she has been banned from the graduation ceremony. She also missed rehearsal, the senior class breakfast, and will not be in the class picture.

District administrators say the “prank” damaged property, halted teaching and forced the evacuation of a school building.

James Hill, another senior, explains, “My friend comes up, throws a water balloon at me and it doesn't break so I pick it up and I throw it back and right after that the vice principal sees me, pulls me aside takes my name and now I can't walk at graduation."

Hill says he has his cap and gown ready to go even though he says he admits to helping plan the prank.

He told us school administrators chose to allow him to participate but one of his best friends was not involved and still got banned. "I can't believe that there's people who didn't do anything, people that got sprayed that are not walking anymore. This is the greatest privilege that we get and they're just taking it away from us for no reason."

Senior Luis Santos slipped and fell the day of the prank. He says that while other kids were shooting shaving cream at each other, he was waiting for assistance for an injury that would require 20 stitches. He says he brought items to use in the prank to school but because he got hurt, those items never left his backpack. He will not be participating in graduation either and says, “It’s my graduation. I have family out here, it's pointless. It sucks."

Anita Santos, a mother, says, “These kids work very hard to get to this point. Yes they're getting their diploma but it's not the same thing as participating with the entire senior class."

Some parents received a letter stating the district may pursue criminal charges against some of the pranksters who are suspected of causing damage.

The district superintendent will make a decision by the end of Tuesday. The graduation ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday.