School leavers’ rampage leads to prom banBy Paul Cassell
June 19, 2012
School leavers at Waingels College have been banned from an end of year prom after a group of pupils went on the rampage and trashed the school.
Around 40 Year 11 students have been told they will not be able to attend the party at Trunkwell House, Spencers Wood, next month after causing trouble at the Woodley secondary.
Teenagers assaulted other students, damaged school property, threw eggs and flour and turned over bins and squirted ketchup in classrooms on Stand Down Day on Friday, May 11.
The day has been a regular fixture at the end of the summer term at the Denmark Avenue school.
Pupils can wear their own clothes or fancy dress to celebrate finishing school ahead of their GCSEs.
This year several pupils wore all-in-one ‘morph suits’ to conceal themselves from head to toe, with staff claiming that they refused to reveal their identity.
Parents have been refunded for the prom tickets but are furious, having splashed out on clothing and limousines for their children’s big night.
A dad-of-three, who declined to be named, said: “I think it’s outrageous to be honest.
“My son has never been any bother. My daughter left last year and from what I have heard it seems things were quite tame in comparison to other years.
“There seems to have been around half a dozen that have instigated it but the majority have caused no trouble and are being punished for the behaviour of a minority. The school has over-reacted and handled the whole thing very badly.”
The problems are believed to have been instigated through a now-closed Facebook group called ‘V for Stand Down Day’ administered by a pupil, who later bragged about the trouble on his blog.
The plan for the group, which has 18 members, was to wear masks with dark hoodies and trousers so “they won’t be able to tell us apart and we just beat the s*** out of people we hate and cause havok (sic)”.
On the blog on May 15 a post read: “People were throwing eggs, knocking on windows, causing a mess. It was absolutely crazy.”
He added: “The teachers were fuming. Apparently this has been the worst set of damage they have ever had on Stand Down Day for 18 years.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed officers were aware pupils were leaving that day, but were not called to any disturbance.
In a school letter dated May 4 parents were urged to ensure their children “conduct themselves appropriately and respect all aspects of behaviour” on Stand Down Day and were warned any misconduct would jeopardise entry to their final examinations and their attendance at the prom.
Waingels confirmed there had been “an incident of poor behaviour and criminal damage”, and a decision had been taken to ban any pupil involved from the prom.
Vice-principal Gareth Blunt said: “Many of our students have been appalled by the behaviour of this small minority.
“Governors have responded to parents, explaining that the behaviour could not be condoned.”