Photograph raises questions if students were mocking punishment - WSMV Channel 4

Photograph raises questions if students were mocking punishment

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The I-Team obtained a photo of the 11 students after graduation. (WSMV) The I-Team obtained a photo of the 11 students after graduation. (WSMV)
DICKSON, TN (WSMV) -

A photograph obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team shows the 11 Dickson County High School students found responsible for causing $11,000 worth of vandalism, holding up their fingers to display “11” after their high school graduation.

It comes as the police chief, who is also a school board member, said that he believes the students should have been charged criminally, despite their principal’s decision not to bring charges.

"(They are) 11 students who were allowed to cause trouble, and that can get away with whatever they wanted,” said Lexie Waynick, a 2013 Dickson County graduate.

Channel 4 first reported about the vandalism at the high school last week, including spray-painting graffiti on walls. Click here to read more.

The principal of the school decided to make the students pay for the damage and clean it up. They were allowed to walk at graduation.

No criminal charges were pressed. You can read the school’s policy on discipline by clicking here.

But after graduation, those 11 students took a picture together that was then sent to the I-Team.

In the picture, the students hold up their fingers to make the number 11.

“What do you think when you see this picture?” asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley to Director of Dickson County Schools Dr. Danny Weeks.

"It's disappointing that students make certain choices,” Weeks said.

Police Chief Rick Chandler, who is also a school board member, confirmed to the I-Team that he sent a message to a Dickson resident reading that he feels the students should have been charged criminally, and wants to discuss the school’s policy at the school board meeting.

The I-Team went to downtown Dickson to get reaction from graduates and current students.

"Nobody that vandalizes a school and … as much damage as was done should get their diploma and walk,” Waynick said.

"It was just a slap on the hand,” said 1969 graduate Lawrence Grimes.

"There are people who are saying, throw them in jail, take their scholarships. I don't agree with that,” said rising senior Mary Harmon.

"On one hand, they worked hard during their four years. But then again, they committed vandalism, $11,000 worth of it,” said rising senior Autumn Champion.

The I-Team also asked what they felt the students were stating in that photo.

“I think it was dumb. Probably shouldn’t have happened, but I’m not going any farther than that,” Harmon said with a laugh.

But even though the 11 students are out of school, they still have one last school office to visit in order to get their diplomas: the office of the director of schools.

“Have you thought about what you're going to say to them?” Finley asked.

“There are some things we'd like to say, and things we'd like to share,” Weeks responded.

Channel 4 opted to blur the students’ faces because they were not charged with a crime.

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