Students Cut Down More Than 20 Trees At Central Ohio High School In Apparent Prank

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UPDATED: Thursday May 8, 2014 5:49 PM

It was a day of clean up Thursday at a central Ohio high school after more than 20 trees were cut down as part of a senior prank.

Now, five students are expected to be charged after the trees were chopped down in an alleged act of vandalism.

The trees, planted outside River Valley High School in Marion County, were found cut down by chainsaws around 12:45 a.m. Thursday, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

High school senior pranks can sometimes be funny, what most might consider harmless.

"Maybe some toilet papering on something like that,” said parent Donna Hall. “Not permanent damage for sure."

What some seniors are accused of doing at River Valley High School has been considered criminal.

"We have a total of 25 trees that were cut down,” said Principal David Coleman “That is not a prank."

The Marion County Sheriff's Office says, overnight, five high school seniors used chainsaws to cut down the trees.

The sheriff's office says the teens could face felony vandalism charges.  And the school principal is considering discipline, too.

"We're looking at 10 day suspension, it could be recommendation for expulsion, it could be you don't walk at graduation,” said Coleman.

In addition, Coleman says, the cleanup is costly.

"It's more than just buying new trees,” said Coleman. “We have to get these trees out of here we have to get the stumps dug out. We have to replace the trees, what do you replace them with? It's going to be a very costly ordeal."

The principal says from athletics, to academics, this was an outstanding senior class and says the students did not need to do this to make a name for themselves.   

It's a thought shared by parents, too.

"I think they could have chosen something else that was less destructive," said Donna Hall

The sheriff’s office said five students were interviewed about their involvement in the incident.  

All five students, between 17 and 18 years old, are currently River Valley students and either attend River Valley High School or Tri-Rivers Career Center.

Late Thursday River Valley Local Schools Superintendent Jim Peterson said three of the five students came forward and admitted they were the ones who actually cut the trees. 

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