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Board Member Says Pranksters Should Be Charged

Posted at 6:51 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 20:10:07-04

A  member of the Dickson County Board of Education has called for more to be done with the 11 teens involved in a senior prank at Dickson County High School in the overnight hours of May 12 into the next morning.

Ricky Chandler, who has the unique position of both serving on the Board of Education and as Dickson Police Chief, says he will be asking for a “complete review of the applicable policies” at the school district.  He says, from a police perspective, the 11 students involved should have been charged with vandalism and trespassing.

The students – none of whom are juveniles, according to Chandler -- caused $11,821.52 in damage inside the school, according to a police report.  The damage included writing on walls that had to be repainted, adhesive with glitter painted onto the gym walls, as well as chairs, clothing and bags thrown into the pool.

Joey Holley, the principal at Dickson County High School, required the students to pay restitution and complete 15 hours of community service, before being allowed to walk at graduation Friday, according to the report.

But Chandler says from a police standpoint, the value of the damage was enough that students should have been charged.

In the police report, School Resource Officer Jeremy Wall also recommended charging the students, but Holley declined, saying he “did not want the matter going to court.”

Speaking with NewsChannel 5 on Monday, Dickson School District Director Danny Weeks said school policy was followed, and administrators showed no favoritism, despite claims from other parents that the punishment wasn't harsh enough.

A Dickson County Board of Education “Discipline Procedures” policy statement says students who are found responsible for vandalism with more than $100 in damage are subject to a Disciplinary Hearing Authority meeting between school officials and the student, where a specific consequence is decided upon.  But Weeks says that hearing can be waived by a student’s parent if they accept the consequences that have been outlined by school administrators.

A school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, where school board members say the issue of the vandalism and school board policy may be brought up.