The entire Year 12 group at Churchlands Senior High School was sent home in disgrace today after students ran amok on their last day of lessons.
Principal Neil Hunt said he dismissed the 300 students this morning because the school was vandalised overnight and younger pupils’ classes had been disrupted by Year 12s chanting and running around the school.
A special breakfast and farewell assembly scheduled for tomorrow were also cancelled.
Churchlands is one of the State’s flagship public schools, regularly performing in the top 20 on Year 12 exam league tables, and is in Education Minister Liz Constable’s electorate.
In a letter to parents Mr Hunt said at least half the students had conducted themselves in such a way that some younger students were intimidated and injured.
Other students required a change of clothes and some teachers were treated with disrespect, including being squirted with water pistols.
Mr Hunt said that that during the night fertiliser, sealant, dog food and eggs had been dumped in the school swimming pool.
The mixture had turned the pool brown and would put it out of action for several days.
Students had turned up in fancy dress instead of their uniforms and thrown oil, eggs, flour and water bombs around the school.
A younger student who slipped on a patch of oil had hurt her back.
Mr Hunt said teachers had overheard conversations in which students were planning to disrupt and damage the school, so he warned all Year 12s on Wednesday what the consequences would be if they misbehaved.
“They think they can run riot and run around the school chanting,” he said. “It’s just high jinks to them but it stuffs up the good order of the school.”
He estimated the cost of the clean up at several thousand dollars.
After pleas from students he agreed to allow them to return tomorrow for a sausage sizzle lunch and a chance to stage skits rehearsed for the cancelled assembly.
A graduation dinner would go ahead as planned tomorrow night.
Education Department Sharyn O’Neill said she backed Mr Hunt’s actions and it was disappointing that some students had chosen to ruin the last days at school for their classmates.
“The end of Year 12 is a special time for students and should be enjoyed – it is not a time for reckless behaviour,” she said.
“I want to send a strong message to year 12s at public schools that while it is appropriate to celebrate reaching this milestone, there is no excuse for bad behaviour that disrupts and damages the school.”
Some parents said they felt the action was heavy-handed.
The department said it had not received reports of similar issues at any other schools.