Authorities have determined that 21 students were involved in the vandalism earlier this week at Flathead High School.
Doug Overman, investigations captain with the Kalispell Police Department, said an initial investigation has revealed approximately 21 individuals entered the school after breaking a window in the early morning hours of May 10. Overman said a camera system in the school is being reviewed as part of the investigation.
After breaking into the school, the suspects broke windows and vending machines, ripped drinking fountains from the walls and tossed sawdust, trash and toilet paper throughout the hallways and common areas. A statue was also broken.
The extent of the damage is still being assessed but it is estimated to be “in the thousands” of dollars, according to school officials.
Police officers are continuing an active investigation to identify the suspects involved and their subsequent roles in the vandalism. Anyone with possible information is asked to call School Resource Officer Cory Clarke at 751-3476.
So-called senior pranks are not uncommon at high schools in the final weeks before graduation, and Flathead and Glacier administrators have explicitly warned students and families about the unaccepted behavior. A pamphlet mailed last week to families with graduating seniors stated, “Individuals will be held accountable for senior pranks that promote illegal activities at school. This includes actions that are disruptive, distracting, incompatible, or harmful to school operations. Depending upon the severity of the illegal activity, the discipline consequence may include suspension or expulsion, and exclusion from the graduation ceremony.”
“We don’t condone (senior pranks) in any way, shape or form. But this is clearly way beyond a prank. It was illegal activity. There was deliberate damage,” Kalispell Superintendent Mark Flatau said earlier this week.
“This is just really unfortunate.”