GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico school district is speaking out one month after students broke into a high school to pull a prank. But the superintendent isn’t laughing and says their actions have costly consequences. The district originally thought the damage from the so-called prank was around $30,000. Now they say it’s more like $280,000. 

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Mike Hyatt is the superintendent of Gallup McKinley County Schools. “We had 26 students from different high schools steal keys and go into Gallup High School on April 1st in the wee hours of the morning.”

Students from Miyamura and Gallup High School broke into the school to pull off what they called a harmless prank but it turned out to be anything but. “The original police report had zero damage because the police had just shown up but as the investigation and the discovery of all the damage that had taken place initially we were maybe a weekend we thought $ 30,000.”

Unfortunately, it was a lot more than that. “The costs actually reached up to $282,000 so far on the new police report,”

Hyatt explains some of the keys that were stolen are still missing -including the master key to the entire school. It’s estimated to cost more than $250,000 to re-key the building. “These are taxpayer dollars going to fix something that really shouldn’t have happened and unfortunately that’s the cost here in this situation.”

Hyatt says students also rummaged through confidential records. The district considered what these students did, a crime and suspended them. Parents reached out to us to express frustration, some even starting a petition to remove Hyatt as superintendent.

“Some people agree and some people don’t and that’s just part of the job. We’re trying to do what’s right for our student body overall,” Hyatt said. 

Moving forward, Hyatt shares that he just wants future students to leave a positive legacy behind. “Instead of doing pranks, do something productive and not destructive for your school.”

According to the latest police report, the students took keys from the softball coach’s set that he left outside. They took the other keys from a substitute teacher. The students who have taken responsibility are banned from campus, but can participate in graduation. The students who are challenging the district’s decision are waiting for a hearing this week.