GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – Was it a harmless senior prank, or a criminal act? That’s what parents, students, and administrators are battling over in one New Mexico school district.
Two weeks ago, several students from Gallup High School went inside the building in the middle of the night. They say to pull a senior prank. “All it was was just…decorative streamers, decorative toilet paper, strings and books, and stacking up the trash bins, that’s it,” explains parent Gervana Begaye.
The parents sent us pictures, which show what many might consider a school prank. But the Gallup-McKinley County School District is calling it a crime, describing what they did as breaking and entering, vandalism, and destruction of school property. “My son did get suspended from Gallup High School,” says Begaye.
Parents say they don’t think the suspension is fair. In a press release, the district estimates damages at more than $30,000. But parents say the police report says differently. “The first police report shows zero damage to the school, nothing was damaged or broken,” says parent Jamie Blue Eyes.
The police report also states “no items have been identified as broken but more as trashed.” Parents say they’re still waiting to hear from the district. Cliff Johns says, “There’s this 30,000 dollars floating out there. We want to know, we want an itemized list of that 30,000.”
With the end of the school year around the corner students involved are at risk of losing out on scholarships. “It also looks like their graduation is a question right now so I mean that’s the part where we’ve shed tears,” says Begaye.
There’s a Change.org petition calling from the removal of Superintendent Mike Hyatt with close to 700 signatures. Some parents say they’ve set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for an attorney to help get their kids back in school.
KRQE News 13 reached out to Gallup-Mckinley County school leaders to answer questions. We are still waiting to hear back.