A group of Mattituck High School seniors will be in detention Saturday after administrators learned students had written on the roof with chalk and placed a total of about 200 balloons inside the building the night before school started.
High School principal Shawn Petretti said the term “prank” isn’t the best way to describe what happened on the evening of Sept. 8 because it has been a tradition for seniors to decorate the front of the building for the first day of school over the past several years.
While most students acted responsibly as they decorated the front entrance with chalked messages, streamers, pictures and signs, he said some students went on the roof and wrote messages in chalk. They also trespassed into the building and filled the front lobby and the senior hallway with balloons and decorations, he said.
Mr. Petretti said he met with the class of 2014, which will be the district’s 100th graduating class, after discovering what had happened. He then asked for the students involved to step forward in lieu of the district launching an official investigation.
“Approximately 40 seniors came into my office and had admitted to what they were doing, even though some of their classmates did not,” he said during Thursday night’s school board meeting. “I thought that showed great character. I was pretty proud them — not with their actions, but how they reacted to the situation.”
Even though some students that came forward didn’t break the rules, Mr. Petretti said they still stepped forward because they also felt responsible since they were there as the situation unfolded.
And on Thursday night, four students addressed the school board during the public comment portion of the meeting to apologize for their class’s misconduct.
Mr. Petretti said he was impressed by the students’ courage and appreciated the unsolicited act of remorse.
“It’s a good class,” he said. “Worthy of our centennial class.”
Mr. Petretti, a fan of the 1985 movie “The Breakfast Club,” said Saturday detentions have been in place in Mattituck for about 13 years and started when he was the school’s dean and current Superintendent James McKenna was the principal.
Administrators have found the Saturday arrangement more beneficial than other forms of suspension because students won’t miss class and will still be held accountable for their actions.
“It’s a way of getting our pound of flesh without impacting academics,” he said. “I’ll be with them on Saturday. Its our own Breakfast Club.”
As for the 2015 senior class, Mr. Petretti said he’ll be meeting with students to come up with a plan for future senior traditions.