63 Teaneck High School students face criminal charges after senior prank

Police say 63 Teaneck High School students are facing criminal charges after they were caught trashing their school as part of a senior prank. (5/1/14)

TEANECK - Police say 63 Teaneck High School students are facing criminal charges after they were caught trashing their school as part of a senior prank.

Each student faced a municipal court judge Thursday.

Officers responded to a burglar alarm at the school just after 2 a.m. Thursday and found dozens of students in the building. They say there was urine in the hallways, petroleum jelly on doorknobs, desks flipped over and graffiti throughout the building.

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Authorities believe the incident was a senior prank that "went a little too far."

Police apprehended 39 juveniles and 24 adults. Authorities say they arrested most of the students involved, but a few may have sneaked away.

Tyrell Mingo is a senior, but did not take part in the prank. "I didn't think it was going to be that crazy, but it got out of hand," he says.

Classmates and friends say the majority of those caught are stand-out kids. They include athletes, scholars, and student leaders, who hadn't been in trouble before.

"Some of them probably did it because they wanted to be in and be popular," says Jennifer Ricketts, the parent of a senior. "Some of them probably didn't even realize what they were doing because they are good kids."

The juveniles were released to their parents, and the adults will be referred to the Bergen County prosecutor's office.

Officials say the students will face burglary and criminal mischief charges.

Parents and students say the incident tarnishes the town's reputation. "I think it's terrible," says Mary Ann Sharpe, a Teaneck parent. "I think it's a total disregard for the school and the other students."

School Superintendent Barbara Pinsak says crews were able to clean the building and students and staff reported to school on time Thursday. "There was no evidence of breakage or destruction of materials or facilities," Pinsak says. 

Police say they are working to obtain surveillance video of the incident from the school.

The school district says it is considering the consequences for the students involved in the incident.

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