Sixty-two alleged student pranksters were arrested in Teaneck, N.J., early Thursday after police found a high school’s hallways littered with toilet paper, balloons, hot dogs, petroleum jelly and urine.
Among the arrested were 24 students who are 18 or older, and they were arraigned in adult court on charges of burglary and criminal mischief, Teaneck police told reporters. The other students were minors and were released from custody to their parents.
Acting Police Chief Robert Carney said at a news conference Thursday that the students were attempting to pull off an end-of-the-year senior prank. They had somehow broken into the school at about 2 a.m., but in doing so, tripped a burglar alarm that brought police to swarm the school and handle the dozens of arrests.
The students had allegedly managed to drag desks and chairs into the hallways and apply petroleum jelly to doorknobs. Walls had been written on and hot dogs were taped to lockers. Pictures showed silly string, balloons and toilet paper spread about a hallway. Worst of all, the Teaneck Public Schools district said crews had to be called in to clean up urine before students arrived for a regular day of classes.
Some of the students tried to run and others tried to hide, Teaneck Police Sgt. John Garland told reporters. But police said they think they caught most of the culprits.
“You could see that look, kind of a combination of fear and shock,” Garland said of the handcuffed students. “You could hear that remorse and regret was definitely setting in.”
The district has not said whether it will levy separate punishment on the students. Police were expected to release additional details later Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the Bergen County prosecutor's office told The Times that attorneys were reviewing the cases to decide whether to pursue existing charges or change them to less serious infractions.
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