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Water Balloon Fight Gets East Rockaway High School Students Banned From Graduation, Prom

Infuriated Kids, Parents Say Administration's Punishment Hardly Fits The Crime
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East Rockaway High School - East Rockaway, NY - Jun 21, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

East Rockaway High School – East Rockaway, NY – Jun 21, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

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EAST ROCKAWAY, NY (CBSNewYork) – Some Long Island high school students are paying a hefty price for their end-of-year hijinks.

The school principal, assistant principal and a crossing guard were among those hit by water balloons during the annual water balloon battle outside East Rockaway High School.

Now, a group of seniors who participated have been banned from this week’s graduation ceremony and the prom.  Some parents think the punishment is extreme.

“Gone through four years of high school and then they made one mistake. I mean I think it’s a little bit too far. I mean, these kids, they were having fun,” one father said.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs In Nassau County

“Kids are kids. You know, to ban them from graduation, I think is ridiculous,” another father said.

Both believe community service would be a more appropriate punishment.

Melissa Erul was one of a group of seniors who won’t attend graduation.

“I’m just so upset. None of my family’s gonna be able to see me,” Erul told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

“I didn’t even throw a water balloon and I’m being penalized,” Mike Castellano said.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Water Balloon Fight Gets Out Of Hand

Anthony Gallegro said he is one of 20 seniors paying for the actions of two students — one who doesn’t attend the school — because they threw balloons at the administration officials.

“Because of two bad seeds in the bunch we’re all going down for it,” Gallegro told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

“They’re acting like it was so much worse than it was,” Billy Day added.

To make matters worse, the banned balloon brawlers said they’ve also been barred from their prom. The students’ parents are livid.

“To take them out of graduation I think is horrible,” Lori De Stefani said.

The school superintendent said the students were warned ahead of time of the penalties and chose to have the water balloon fight anyway. Dr. Rosanne C. Melucci said in a statement: “The actions of these students created a disorderly and unsafe situation by obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

But for the banned students that rings hollow.

“I can’t go to the prom or graduate. I think that’s a little extreme,” Ryan Starkman said.

Many of the kids Rapoport spoke with said the balloon fight is an annual thing that’s gone on for years — and that they’ve never been penalized for it.

Do you think these students went too far or is the administration totally overreacting? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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