An extreme senior prank has resulted in the firing of a sheriff's deputy, the suspension of a high school principal and the banning of 100 students from their graduation ceremony.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, students at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville urinated on walls, let chickens and crickets loose in the hallways, sprayed shaving cream and ketchup throughout the building and left a dead animal in a hallway.
The incident, which was apparently intended to be a senior prank, occurred late April 29 and early April 30, authorities said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was initially tasked with tracking down the perpetrators, but were forced to step down last week, after it was revealed that one of their own -- a school resource officer named James Fisher -- had allegedly lied to them about his whereabouts at the time of the prank.
"When the incident was first reported, Deputy Fisher gave Director Tim Blankenship and myself a false report about what happened," Sheriff Tommy Jones said in a press release. "We reviewed the schools security video and when I spoke Deputy Fisher a second time, he admitted to the false statement."
Jones said the video shows Fisher open up the school before the vandalism occurred and shows him help the students carry items into the building.
"He then returns after receiving a call that the prank has gotten out of hand," the sheriff said.
Fisher was terminated for his alleged involvement, prompting the sheriff's office to step down as the investigating agency. The district attorney's office then asked TBI to take over the investigation, TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland told The Huffington Post.
On Monday, the school district announced they had suspended Principal Gary Cole indefinitely, for his alleged involvement in the prank.
"This suspension is without pay," the school district said in a statement. "Any further decision will be made when the investigation is concluded."
Cole's alleged involvement remains unclear. Niland would only say the results of their investigation will be revealed once it is complete.
Students who spoke with local8now.com said sheriff's deputies, including the school resource officer, had led them into the building and warned them not to destroy any property.
"They told us when we got in the school ... 'Don't steal anything and don't break anything and we'll be good,'" Sequoyah High School senior Katelin Barnes told the website.
The students, senior Kody Hampton added, showed up with glitter and balloons.
"There were pretty much two waves of people who went through. The first wave, wasn't bad, just simple pranks that did no harm," Hampton told local8now.com.
It was not till about 1:00 a.m., the students said, that additional students showed up and the harmful prank turned ugly.
"For the kids that just did innocent things, it's not fair. It really isn't," Hampton said of the graduation ban.
No charges have been filed and TBI does not have a timeline for when they expect to conclude their investigation.
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