May 15, 2013 —
As many as 10,000 crickets were released by a group of students at East Carter High School Thursday morning. By Friday, seven seniors had received disciplinary action.
Although school administrators cannot comment about those disciplinary measures, sources say that these students will not be allowed to participate in Saturday morning's commencement.
Missy and Mark Barker are the parents of one of ECHS's seniors. Although he was involved in planning the cricket release- he slept through the event and was not punished.
“We feel like this prank was harmless and done in good humor,” the Barkers said. “Not only are these kids not allowed to participate, they aren't allowed at the ceremony tomorrow. The district is also holding their diplomas until after the fines are paid.”
According to the Barkers, each student will be required to pay a fine of around $600 for extermination of the crickets. The Barkers said although they understand the payment, they believe the students should be allowed to walk at graduation.
The crickets will have to be removed from the school, which will cost money for the district. Administrator Donald Damron said he was unsure what would be done to remove them, but an exterminator was assessing the situation.
Meanwhile, students and parents are reaching out to media organizations, calling for the seven pranksters to be allowed to participate in the ceremony.