Prank Gone Wrong

TPHS seniors covered the school in toilet paper and caused at least $18,000 of property damage, which under California law qualifies as felony vandalism, in a senior prank the night of March 17, according to Principal David Jaffe.
“If you’re estimating [the total cost], it’s not just damage, it’s time,” Jaffe said. “So you have to pay the custodial staff [for cleaning up] and all that. I have no idea what [the total] would come to, but to give you some perspective, when we had the [four-hour] lockdown last year, the person who locked us down had to pay a $3,800 bill.”
According to Assistant Principal Michael Santos, “pretty much all” of the district groundskeepers and maintenance staff were called to TPHS to clean up the mess before school started. Additionally, half of the gate under the bridge near the administration building was ripped down, so the remaining portion of it had to be removed for safety. Two concrete trash cans were also broken, and some trees were damaged.
The prank was planned through the TPHS Class of 2016 Facebook group, though most of the senior class did not participate. According to Alex Doran*, who TPed the school, over 100 people were present for the prank, though some were not TPHS students.
“One guy brought [toilet paper] in a huge truck, and then we all paid for it and ran around and threw it everywhere,” Doran said. 
Although the prank initially only involved covering the school in toilet paper, “it kind of got out of hand once people were inside [the school],” according to Doran. People flipped tables and rolled trash cans down the student parking lot ramp, and “a lot of people” were under the influence.
“I drove … I wasn’t [under the influence],” Doran said. “It was fun while we were doing it, but after, we realized that it got out of control and it probably wasn’t worth it.”
According to Jaffe, there is an on-going police investigation into the vandalism. TPHS administration is mainly concerned with finding the students who damaged the gate, as that “elevated” the prank to vandalism, rather than those who participated in covering the school with toilet paper. 
A number of seniors expressed anger or disappointment with the prank on the Class of 2016 Facebook page. Christopher Butler (12) said the prank was “pretty juvenile.”
Butler said that the people who participated in the vandalism should have to pay for the damages and potentially be given a felony charge on record “if the state wants to.”
Key Club treasurer Rebecca Yeap (12) organized a campus cleanup event in conjunction with National Honor Society to help remove the remaining toilet paper from trees. 
“The damage is done; we might as well do something about it,” Yeap said. “It’s just embarrassing that something like this would happen.”
Jaffe said that, compared to past senior pranks like “when they parked their cars on all the embankments,” this year’s prank was “low-level.”
“When I look at ‘Cardinal Chaos’ and the various groups on campus, they’re very creative in how they present themselves,” Jaffe said. “But when I see a low-level prank like this, I think ‘Really, that’s all you got? That’s your level of creativity?’”
Santos said that the prank was not particularly funny, and that it was disappointing to see.
“This is supposed to be your home; you wouldn’t want to trash your home,” Santos said.
The San Diego Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.
*Name changed to protect identity

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