Bluffton High School principal Bob Anderson has seen some serious senior pranks in his career.
At his former school in Pennsylvania, students unloaded a truckload of chickens in the halls.
Another group of seniors led a cow up to the school's third floor. Since cows can climb up stairs, but can't climb down them, the animal had to be euthanized in the building, Anderson said.
So, in comparison, this year's Bluffton High senior prank, in which 30 students decorated the school's front portico with water-soluble paint, was tame.
However, there's one big difference between that prank, conducted two weeks ago, and the more severe ones Anderson has seen.
"This year, the kids got caught in the act," the principal said Friday afternoon.
While on routine patrol, Bluffton Police officers found the group outside the school around 4 a.m. May 29, according to an incident report released Friday. When police appeared, the group scattered. Five were caught, Police Chief David McAllister said Friday.
McAllister and Anderson surveyed the damage that night. There were footprints covering the sidewalk, accompanied by verses such as, "try to follow these footsteps" and the more traditional "class of '09."
By the number of footprints painted across the sidewalk, "we knew those five kids couldn't have done it alone," Anderson said.
So the principal gave the five an ultimatum: round up their fellow artists and get the sidewalks cleaned to perfection by the time the school opened its doors three hours later at 7:30.
"Luckily for them, they had the foresight to use water-soluble paint," he said.
But an hour into the cleaning, the seniors realized the kitchen sponges they were using to scrub the sidewalks and walls didn't seem to be doing the job fast enough. That's when a few of them retrieved pressurized hoses from their parents' homes, Anderson said.
Apparently, the hoses did the trick.
"By the time the school opened, the front of the front of the building looked better than before," Anderson said. "The gum and the ink marks from pens were gone."
All the students involved graduated Thursday night. No arrests were made in the incident and no charges levied against any of the students, McAllister said.
From a principal's perspective, the prank was ideal, Anderson said.
"No real damage was done and we caught them all in the act," he said.
"They learned a wonderful lesson."