TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — More than 60 students were arrested at Teaneck High School Thursday after police said they broke into the school for a senior class prank, greased doorknobs with Vaseline and urinated in the hallways.
Police were called to a burglar alarm at the school around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
“We blew up balloons, moved desks around, and stringed up lockers together, and next thing you know police are everywhere,” students Bryan Cruz and John Luis told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
Both were among the dozens rounded up and arrested in the melee.
The security alarm inside the school tipped off police, and authorities watched the destruction happening on surveillance video, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“They told us they checked several cameras in the station — yeah we never knew that,” Cruz and Luis said.
When officers arrived, they also found desks and chairs flipped over, graffiti on the walls, silly string on the floor and hot dogs taped to lockers, police said.
“Numerous desks, chairs were dragged out into the hallways, you couldn’t make it through some of the hallways,” said Acting Police Chief Robert Carney. “The urine all over the hallways, the grease that was applied to the doors, there was a large amount of it.”
Some of the damage was captured in Twitter photos.
Police said even before going inside, officers could see students through the school’s windows. Seventeen surrounding police departments were also called in to help round-up students, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
“It is possible that a few got away, but the majority were caught,” Carney said.
In all, police said 62 students were arrested, including 38 juveniles and 24 students who are 18 or older. Carney said as they were arrested, some were laughing, but others were scared.
Police said students told officers it was all a senior prank, which they said is an annual tradition at the high school.
“If this was a senior class prank, I just don’t believe that a lot of them realize the seriousness of it as far as breaking into the building,” said Teaneck Police Sgt. John Garland. “That’s a burglary and I don’t think they understand that. It’s a very serious offense. Not to mention the criminal mischief, the vandalism that went on.”
The juveniles were turned over to their parents while the 24 adult students faced a judge, many wearing Teaneck High School sweatshirts. They were charged with burglary and criminal mischief.
Many of those forced to appear before a judge hid behind their parents as they left court.
“I know he thought it was fun and games, but it’s real life,” Carlos Garrison, a parent of one of the students, told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “It’s not fun and games.”
Another parent told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones she hopes the school also takes action.
“It’s just totally disrespectful. And the ones that did it, the seniors, they probably shouldn’t be able to graduate,” she said.
But some parents said the prank wasn’t that bad.
“It’s a yearly prank that’s done,” said parent Pat D’onofrio. “The police should not have arrested these kids.”
Police said the damage was widespread but not permanent. The school opened in time for the morning bell Thursday.
While the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office decides if all of the students will face harsh criminal charges, the Board of Education will determine if and how the students will be disciplined at school.
Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said the district is also considering disciplining the students.
“The district continues to assess the situation and is considering the consequences it will impose on the students implicated,” she said in the statement.
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