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Newton students suspended over senior prank
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Five Newton High School students have been suspended for 30 days after planning to have a water balloon fight in the school's parking lot as part of a senior prank.

The students had 15 water balloons and two water guns. Water guns are banned items in Newton County schools.

According to spokeswoman Sherri Davis-Viniard, a student who was holding one of the water guns was wearing a mask.

Approximately 100 students who were on their way to the buses ran away screaming, "She has a gun!" Many of the fleeing students fell and several were crying, according to eye witnesses.

School officials received word that the seniors, who had signed out of school earlier in the day, were going to hit underclassmen with water balloons allegedly filled with bleach, ketchup, mustard and Nair - a hair removal lotion.

However, the students have denied that, saying the balloons only contained water.

After receiving numerous reports from teachers, parents and students, school officials decided to dismiss all students 15 minutes early to attempt to prevent the planned prank.

All Newton High School seniors - including the five students - had previously signed a contract acknowledging the school would not tolerate any pranks.

Davis-Viniard said that one employee and one student were hurt during a senior prank at the school last year.

Students had released crickets and placed baby oil on the floor causing one custodian and one student to fall.

Wanting to prevent any future pranks like that of the previous years, Newton High School principal Dr. Craig Lockhart required the school's seniors to sign the contract "so students knew ahead of time," said Davis-Viniard.

A special senior meeting was held on March 23 where the students were informed that pranks or disruptive behavior would not be tolerated during the graduation ceremony. Students then signed a contract with the principal which said that they would not "engage in any senior prank for the remainder of the school year..."

School officials said that the students were disciplined for bringing water guns, which are banned, onto school property and for disrupting the school day since students had to be released early. Also, the students were disciplined for breaking the contract they previously signed stating they would not do a senior prank.

"Due to the number of tips received, administrators worked with transportation to get students out of the building earlier than normal which of course was a complete disruption of the school day and loss of instructional learning time," said Davis-Viniard.

Some of the students suspended have scholarships to college and are worried about how the suspension will affect them in the long term.

All of the suspended student will be allowed to come back to school for the last two days of final exams on May 22.