Today, Algonquin Principal Tom Mead announced the cancellation of class of 2015’s senior ball.
The letter began on a positive note, referring to students’ model behavior in front of a visiting congressman yesterday. It then takes a jarring turn with descriptions of “hooligan behavior” on Wednesday.
According to the announcement, many seniors were:
out of control, profane, and grossly disrespectful. Against clear directions prohibiting certain actions and materials, they brought shaving cream, airhorns, and other contraband into school and used this to intimidate and humiliate numerous students and staff.
The statement positions the cancellation of the party as a preventative measure, rather than punitive:
I am not confident that we can stage this event without a repeat of some of the behaviors seen on Wednesday, and I do not have an adequate volunteer staff to monitor and chaperone the students.
Mead also plans to cancel the “senior march” in future years to avoid similar incidents. The incident seems to have centered around the march (aka senior parade). The school’s newspaper tweeted pics of the parade Wednesday morning, already showing one student with a shaving cream can and a few who appeared to have been slightly sprayed.
Later that afternoon, came this tweet [Editor’s Note: Some commenters have clarified that the below tweet is of a sanctioned tradition for an outdoor shaving cream fight after school. The indoor incident during the morning’s senior march was unrelated:
Seniors give a foamy farewell to Algonquin with shaving cream fight pic.twitter.com/2upx0gyocC
— The Harbinger (@ARHSHarby) May 27, 2015
Here is Mead’s full announcement:
May 29, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians of Algonquin,
Yesterday, Representative James McGovern visited Algonquin. Responding to the invitation of a member of the Class of 2015, the Congressman toured the Serenity Garden and listened to the words of numerous students as they described the vegetable, floral, and herbal plantings of this growing natural classroom. Later, Rep. McGovern viewed the incredible art exhibits in our Gallery near the Rotunda, again accompanied by many students who described their work, and art.
I am proud of our students and staff because both stops by the Congressman were to shining examples of the remarkable work and development of so many students – seniors through freshmen.
Yesterday stands in stark contrast to the day before. That is, the behavior of many members of the Class of 2015 on Wednesday, their last day of classes. At a moment in their lives when they should be thankful, courteous, and respectful, too many were out of control, profane, and grossly disrespectful. Against clear directions prohibiting certain actions and materials, they brought shaving cream, airhorns, and other contraband into school and used this to intimidate and humiliate numerous students and staff. These actions were incredibly disrupting and unsettling for the school community.
I hasten to point out that this hooligan behavior was not embraced by all members of the Class of 2015. I especially appreciate the help and support of many members of this class, including the Steering Committee and various student-athletes who worked quickly and effectively with the custodial staff to restore our cafeteria, hallways, and bathrooms to shipshape status within a half hour. Nevertheless, the following steps will be taken in light of the chaos of Wednesday and the prospects for the future.
- The Senior Ball is cancelled this year. I am not confident that we can stage this event without a repeat of some of the behaviors seen on Wednesday, and I do not have an adequate volunteer staff to monitor and chaperone the students.
- The Senior March will no longer be a part of the year-ending school sanctioned events.
- We will work with the Class of 2016 to find alternative events and schedules that will provide our students with good opportunities to close out their four years of high school.
It is my hope that the Class of 2015 can mend fences with the faculty and staff who have taught, guided, and nurtured them for the past four years, and that they can reconcile with each other before they graduate and regain their unity and sense of community.
I deeply regret these actions, and I take responsibility for the behavior of our students. Over the past 24 hours I have taken time to reflect and consult with my fellow educators here at Algonquin. The school itself is resilient and optimistic, and that is good. In the end, we must never forget that we are here to teach, guide, and support all of our students, to work with families and providers in order to give our students and your children the opportunities they deserve to grow and develop into respectable and productive adults.
Updated (5/29/15 1:15 pm): Added in what I found on twitter.
Updated (5/31/15 10:45 pm): Inserted clarification by commenters that the sanctioned, outdoor afternoon shaving fight was unrelated to the indoor incident earlier in the day.