Nova Scotia

Students defend year-end prank at New Waterford school

Some students at Breton Education Centre say a mess was created and cleaned up within a few hours. Cape Breton school officials say it was vandalism.

Cape Breton school officials say the actions of students crossed the line

The Cape Breton-Victoria Centre for Education says a student prank went too far, leaving a big mess for staff. Students disagree, saying they cleaned up. (Submitted by Evony Robertson)

Some high school students in Cape Breton say they were confused when they were a told a year-end prank went too far. 

The Cape Breton-Victoria Centre for Education says the prank crossed the line.

Prior to the start of classes last Friday, about 20 classmates at Breton Education Education Centre in New Waterford sprayed silly string and hung streamers in classrooms and hallways. 

School chairs and desks were piled into the centre of rooms, while sticky notes, paper, tape and balloons littered desks and floors. 

Glitter, paint and markers were used to create some mess.

"It's something that goes on every single year," said Kelly Pinhorn, who was one of the soon-to-be graduates who took part in the prank. "There was no harm done. There's no structural damage."

Students say they made a mess in a school hallway as part of a prank, shown right. But they say the picture on the left shows what the school looked like after their cleanup. (Submitted by Kelly Pinhorn)

Students say they cleaned up

Pinhorn said stories that students dragged a small fridge and a tub through hallways aren't true.

She said they had everything cleaned up by 10 a.m. that morning after surprising teachers with the mess.

"I think it was just the garbage bags full," said Pinhorn of what was left behind. 

Evony Robertson, the school co-president, said the matter is being blown out of proportion.

"There was little-to-nothing extra for the maintenance for the cleaners to do, besides maybe some washable marker [on] the windows."

Robertson said after the prank, there was a water gun fight from teachers as a way of "[getting] us back" for the stunt. 

Act of vandalism

Although students say the matter was all in fun, school officials say it went too far.  

"Parts of Breton Education Centre were vandalized," the centre for education said in a statement. 

"It appears this was intended as an end-of-year prank, however, the actions of those involved went beyond what was originally planned."

Education officials said there was no structural damage, but a big mess was left behind. However, they could not say what, if any, damage was done. 

Spokesperson Heather Calder said police are not involved in the matter. 

Students say they pranked teachers last Friday morning as part of an annual tradition. In one example, a desk and computer is shown wrapped in plastic film. (Submitted by Evony Robertson )

'Waiting all year'

Pinhorn described a tough year for 2021 graduates, with few ways to mark milestones under COVID-19 restrictions.

She said describing their prank as vandalism has left her graduating class feeling as though they're bad people.

"It's kind of heartbreaking," she said. "They need to realize that we're just kids. We're trying to have fun."

Robertson agrees that the matter is upsetting, especially since no harm was intended. 

"My grad class has struggled so much this year," she said. "We missed out on so many things … this is one of the things we could do."

The students say the school hasn't disciplined anyone in relation to the prank.