This Saturday’s graduation ceremony at Hancock Central High School in Sparta has tentatively been canceled after some students released live animals and poured oil in the hallways.
Awanna L. Leslie, Hancock County’s school superintendent, said Tuesday that for now, Saturday’s graduation has been scuttled. She didn’t rule out the possibility of reinstating it, though, pending the results of an investigation that the school system and campus police are conducting into a series of pranks Friday near the end of the school day.
An unknown number of students poured baby oil and flour down a hallway at the high school. In addition, students released mice and crickets in the high school.
Leslie said at least one employee and one or two students slipped on the oil, and the employee was injured. Leslie said she couldn’t give any more details about the employee, citing workers compensation regulations.
“We’re going through a major investigation,” Leslie said. “Parents are very upset but are supporting us to find the culprits.”
Leslie noted that the current senior class is one of the most successful academically in the school’s history. Ninety percent of the class passed End-of-Course Tests in science, social studies, math and English, the first time the school has achieved that distinction.
“These are very intelligent kids,” she said. “But these children did not use sound judgment.”
Administrators at Hancock Central declined to comment on the situation, referring all questions to Leslie.
Ruby Clayton, a member of the county’s school board, said she wouldn’t comment about the cancellation of graduation plans until she meets with other board members.
“Every once in a while, there are silly pranks,” she said. “In the last part of school, everybody goes crazy rather than get educated.”
Leslie said there is still time to reinstate graduation, that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, should the investigation be concluded. There are more than 100 students in the class.
“I hope we can find a very good resolution,” she said. “Graduation has been organized. When the investigation is complete, there’s still time for it to be set up.”
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.