Five Students Could Face Charges Over Tree-Cutting Prank
A central Ohio community anxious tonight about what will happen to five students accused of chopping down more than 20 trees outside of a school.
The five students are expected face vandalism charges, and discipline from the school district, following what was supposed to be a senior prank.
The Marion County Prosecutor's office says it has received a report from the sheriff's office and a decision on charges will most likely be made Monday.
Likewise, the school district says it could have its recommendation for discipline Monday.
Seeing the trees chopped down in front of River Valley High School stunned not only students, but an entire community.
Angela Levings said when she saw them, it made her cry.
"I was outraged. I was absolutely, positively, outraged! It made me sick to my stomach,” said Angela Levings
Levings says she graduated from River Valley High School in the 1980's and hates to see what someone did to the grounds of her alma mater.
And says she hopes whoever did it will be held accountable.
"There has been a lot of talk on social media (that) ‘they’re kids, it was a prank, nobody got hurt,”’ said Levings “They committed a crime. They need to face the consequences of the crime."
District Superintendent James Peterson says the five students involved are not bad kids but they will be held accountable.
"They made a bad decision and we will deal with it and they will have to deal with the consequences,” said River Valley Local Schools Superintendent James Peterson.
Peterson says the student handbook lays out the discipline for school vandalism and it will be followed:
VANDALISM AND/OR DESTRUCTION OF SCHOOL PROPERTY
A student shall not cause or attempt to cause damage to school property including building, grounds, equipment, vehicles, or materials by means of vandalism, arson or other ways.
FIRST OFFENSE - Up to a 10 day suspension with a possible recommendation for expulsion.
SECOND OFFENSE - 10 day suspension and recommendation for expulsion
Meanwhile, Peterson says, several people have offered to donate trees, money and the labor to plant new trees.
"Our community is rallying behind our school district and that is so greatly appreciated,” said Peterson