12 Keller ISD Students Banned From Graduation Over Senior Pranks

Parent of one student says it is not fair to punish only a few students

Twelve seniors in the Keller school district were banned from participating in graduation ceremonies as punishment for senior pranks at two high schools.

School administrators said the pranks at Timber Creek High School and Central High School went too far.

At Timber Creek, video obtained by NBC 5 shows students going into a main hallway and dumping liquid and baby oil on the floor, turning the area into a giant slippery surface. Students also released crickets, birds and rats inside the school.

At Central, students had a food fight. Cellphone video shows students yelling and running around, while smashed eggs and trash cover the floor.

Eight students at Central and four from Timber Creek are not allowed to participate in graduation.

Martin Alvarez, one of the Central students banned, attended graduation Saturday in his cap and gown and sat in the audience.

He said he was a bystander in the mayhem of the food fight on May 25.

"I was just observing," he said. "I was trying to dodge food and all the liquids that was going everywhere."

He said he is focused on the future, which includes playing football for Southwestern Oklahoma. When asked if he learned any lessons from his graduation ban, he said: "There's no lesson to this. It's a joke."

Ricky Alvarez, his father, told NBC 5 on Friday that a teacher said he saw his son throw a water bottle.

"The only statement they had was from a teacher who said he witnessed my son out of a group throw a water bottle at the tail end of a food fight," he said.

Ricky Alvarez said he doesn't think it was fair for the district to single out only eight students. Close to 700 students were in the cafeteria at the at the time of the food fight, he said.

"Our thing is, with the eight you have not walking -- you know there were more involved," he said.

Alvarez said his son, who was prom king this year and a running back on the varsity football team, has never been in trouble before.

The Keller Independent School District released a statement saying that the pranks "caused a sustained disruption of the learning environment and, in some cases, endangered other students."

It went on to say that the incidents "led to physical altercations, throwing potentially dangerous objects at others and inciting riotous behavior."

Alvarez asked the principal if his son could help clean the school in order to walk during graduation.

"You can have him clean the hallways -- whatever you need him to do -- some sort of service at the school and see if we can work this out," he said he told the principal.

But the answer was "no."

Alvarez said he went to the Keller ISD administration building at 8:30 a.m. Friday to talk to a school official about what could be done so his son could participate in graduation. He said he never spoke to anyone and was asked to leave at 4 p.m. when the building was closing.

One parent at Central High School's graduation told NBC 5 that she thinks the students banned from the graduation ceremonies got off easy. She said she thinks that some with scholarships should lose them.

NBC 5's Mark Schnyder contributed to this report.

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