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River Hill Prom Will Not Be Canceled Because of "Prank"

A senior "prank" at River Hill High School that went too far will not lead to the cancelation of prom.

A senior "prank" at River Hill High School that was decribed by school officials as vandalism will not lead to the cancellation of the school's prom, according to Patti Caplan, a spokesperson for Howard County Schools.

At least 30 students were involved in the vandalism, according to Caplan. River Hill Principal Nicholas Novak sent a message to parents on Monday afternoon saying students had spray painted inappropriate messages and pictures around the high school, flipped over the 'prom promise car,' toilet papered trees and moved trash cans into the street.

In the message, Novak said consequences could include exclusion from senior activities such as prom and graduation.

Caplan said the school has determined the individuals who were involved and has notified their parents.

"It appears to be all seniors," said Caplan. "It was supposedly their senior prank."

Caplan said the students involved will have to clean up around the school.

"The consequences are going to fit the crime," said Caplan. "There may be more severe punishment depending on their level of involvement."

"This went well beyond a prank and there was definitely vandalism involved," said Caplan.

Caplan said the incident was reported to police, but that because the school is handling it she didn't believe there would be charges pursued by police.

Update 3:26 p.m.: Howard County Police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn confirmed police will not be pursuing criminal charges in this case.

"No criminal charges will be filed in this incident," wrote Llewellyn in an email. "The school will be handling the matter administratively."

Editor's Note: This article has been corrected from its original version. It incorrectly identified River Hill's Principal as Kevin Novak, his name is Nicholas Novak. We apologize for the error.

Former HoCo Student May 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Are you seriously stereotpying the whole school because of a bad experience you had with RH? Just because a couple parents were being jerks doesn't mean the entire school is the same way. I seriously expected some more maturity from a parent of a HoCo student.
River Hill Student May 17, 2012 at 05:04 PM
im not gonna not graduate for this and they sure as hell arent gonna take prom away from anyone who already paid 136 dollars for them and there date and plus you realize how much money they spend on organizing prom they're not gonna take it away you guys are retarded if you think that'd ever happen. The school took the actions of not taking anything away and not pressing charges for a reason... that reason is that no real damage was done for everything that has been said by every person named as "River Hill student" the school is smarter than all of you writing on this your opinions dont matter because you werent actually here to see what happened so of course your going to just believe what an article says. sugar coated "facts" the school gave us no punishment cause no damage was caused, u think if any of this was as serious as vandalism or as serious as this article and all of u commenting on this makes it seem u really think the school wouldnt have pressed charges? No the school didnt press charges cause it wasnt that serious
Anne May 18, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Some of the unidentified "River Hill Students" who responded to this Patch article have displayed egregious errors in grammar & rhetoric while demeaning the outcry against the "senior prank". Quite frankly I am more upset w/ their display of ignorance than I am w/ the spray-painting & related activities described. THESE are graphic examples of the much-vaunted Howard County School system! Instead of running Allen Dyer off the board, the remaining board members need to start asking some questions & closely monitoring the incoming school superintendent.
Derrick Jordan May 22, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"Wasn't as serious a vandalism." You do know what they did is called vandalism right? Especially when you spray paint on school property whether it be on the grass or on a gym door. Definitely wasn't approved by the school, so that would make it an illegal act. The Prom promise car being flipped would have been fine if they had left it at that. I heard from a current RH student that the kids involved had to clean up, but I still think more community service is needed if they won't have anything in their record. I do remember my senior prank when we took all the batteries out of the clocks at the school. No spray painting, no tipping over anything, nothing to embarass the school. At graduation, we gave Mr. Plunkett the batteries as we walked across the stage. Now, that's a senior prank! Be clever, not reckless.
Derrick Jordan May 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Plus, I pay taxes on that school along with the rest of the schools in Howard County, so that's how serious it can get.

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