May 23, 2003 at 10:45 PM CDT - Updated June 21 at 4:26 PM
Graduation Bail and Squall By: Susan Stiegman
(Marble Hill, MO)--It's a graduation day many high school seniors in Marble Hill will never forget..thanks to a tradition that, apparently, has gone on for years, according to students and parents.
A few of the students "bailed" out of school on the last day of class and "squalled" their tires as they left.
Many of them say it's just harmless fun..but this year, it got them in a lot of trouble.
"He suspended us for two days," says Dillon Yount. "He called us all to the office after we pulled in and said we were not going to walk in graduation. And we weren't allowed back on the property for those two days."
Dillian Yount is one of seven graduating seniors who may not attend their ceremony..all because they carried out a long-running tradition of squalling their tires at the end of the last full day of school.
Now, he has a big decision to make.
"The students were suspended and will be given the option to walk in the graduation if they do 40 hours of work at the school beginning next Tuesday," says Superintendent William Biggerstaff.
The students involved in the incident were allowed back on school grounds to hear the verdict. But it's not an easy decision, considering many of them have jobs.
"The decision will be made about five minutes before graduation, by just about everybody," says one senior who was involved in the 'bail and squall' incident.
If the students don't show up to graduation -- the ceremony could be quite vacant.
"Our class consists of 66 people..66 people who've bonded through everything. And if seven don't walk, we won't walk," says graduating senior Jessi Francis.
While some of the kids at the high school are wrapping up their school year with a hard lesson of consequences, many parents are ending the year with a feeling of loss and disappointment.
"My heart goes out to the parents. We've invested 13 years with our children in this. We've been through so much with the kids," says Diane Campbell, the mother of one graduating senior.
"I want to see my boy walk down that aisle. It's a once in a lifetime deal," says Sandi Long, the mother of another graduating senior.
The superintendent says one reason the kids got in trouble is because of the danger the incident posed.
He says the smoke was so thick after the students squalled their tires, that several cars..and a bus had to stop in the road.