Fourteen Upson-Lee High School seniors are facing criminal trespass charges following an apparent senior prank last Friday. While the Thomaston-Upson School System cannot comment on student discipline issues, unnamed sources have said the seniors will spend the last week of their high school years on suspension, will be allowed to take final exams, but will not be allowed to take part in their class’ graduation ceremony Friday night.
The Thomaston-Upson School System released the following statement Monday morning concerning the incident:
“Fourteen students have been cited with criminal trespassing at Upson-Lee High School that occurred on Friday, May 18. When administration arrived, they found the windows to the courtyard covered with paper, and all doors were padlocked shut. The students refused to comply with administration requests to open the doors. After administration forced entry, the students refused to exit the tents.”
According to an incident report from the Upson County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Mike Rucker, the school resource officer, was called to the high school about 7:25 a.m. Friday morning by Principal Tracy Caldwell after the students were found barricaded in the courtyard. Several of the doors had been tied with rope and others had been chained to keep anyone from entering, and paper was covering the windows. After the head of maintenance cut through the rope on one set of doors, Deputy Rucker entered the courtyard and found several tents and air mattresses, and the 14 seniors. A ladder was also found that was apparently used by the students to gain access to the courtyard from the roof. The report goes on to state that Principal Caldwell wanted the students involved charged. The students were taken to the Upson County Jail, where they were charged with Criminal Trespass and released into the custody of their parents.
“I can’t comment on punishments for individual students because of their rights,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Gatlin said Monday morning. “We have to deal with unusual situations that are not covered under the disciplinarian code as the administration sees fit. The fact that they were cited for criminal trespass is a matter for public record, obviously, because it was filed with the Sheriff’s Department .”
Dr. Gatlin did confirm that no damage was done to the school in the incident.