Senior Students Punished in Cricket Controversy

GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A funny thing happened on the way to pomp and circumstance, but not everyone is seeing the humor.

Following a prank at East Carter High School, seven seniors have been told they can't participate in graduation Saturday.

According to a statement released by the Carter County School District, the seven seniors went into the school early Thursday morning and released thousands of crickets.

“Expenses will continue to rise as cleanup efforts are still underway,” the statement said. “It is the stance of the Carter County School District that these actions, while meant to be a prank of sorts, are unacceptable.”

Parents and classmates tell the students responsible have to pay thousands of dollars in exterminator fees and sit out their graduation ceremony.

Some of their fellow seniors and parents say the punishment is too harsh.

"We've been to school with them since we were in diapers,” senior Alissa Lawson said. “It's not fair to us to not have them there with us."

"It's a bug," Rhonda Parsons, a parent of one of the pranksters, said. "It could be worse. What other kinds of bugs are in there?"

Parsons says her son should be forced to assist in cleaning the bugs out of the school or pay for the cleaning, but after working 13 years toward earning a diploma, he shouldn't be kept out of the graduation ceremony.

Even Kentucky State Senator Robin Webb, who was once class president at East Carter, is chirping in.

"Graduation is one of those lifetime milestones,” Webb said, “and these kids with no previous records of any sort, I think it's a little overreaching."

It was a tough final lesson of actions and consequences on the senior class’s last day of school.

"This was probably a dumb decision on the students' part to do this so close to graduation," Jonathan Wells, a senior classmate and friend of the pranksters, said.

Graduation is at the school Saturday morning at 10.

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