One of the greatest ironies in this business centers around the importance of the graduation ceremony: it is the penultimate experience, one not to be missed, to be treated like the Holy Grail itself . . . unless, of course, you're a graduating senior. Our campus has been hit with several pranks from the senior class this year--including tree-mounted squid (WTF?), streaking, and now we have five girls who went around painting "07" on every car window they could find in two lots (although I understand they painted a few car doors as well, including a staff member's, and that stuff's not coming off easily). The last group was told that as a result of this, they would not walk in graduation. They cried. They screamed. They wanted to know why the streakers get to walk (actually, so do I). The girls even offered to wash all the cars they defaced--like anyone's gonna let them near those cars a second time.
In the end, here's what happened: they walked graduation. The three streakers walked. The five painters walked. The squid guys--whoever the hell they were--walked. I realize that we have very little left with which to punish exiting seniors, but to let them off scott-free seems wrong to me; moreover, it guarantees that there will be more of the same next year. Early in my parenting I learned an immutable truth: never make a threat you're not willing to actually carry out, for you will be tested. Either we mean business, or we don't.
Footnote: The day of graduation, 90 seconds before rehearsal ends, some moron leaps out of his seat and runs to the parking lot. He's stopped, and although he probably left for no reason other than to avoid the parking lot traffic he called enough attention to himself and his car for security to find his stash and his bong. He didn't walk. What message does this send? That we're anti-drugs, but we're cool with vandalism and indecent exposure.