CUMBERLAND — Falmouth and Greely high school seniors pulled the ol’ switcheroo May 17 and showed up for class at each others’ schools – a prank that required the students to put away their traditional rivalry for the day to play a little joke on their respective schools.
But while Greely seniors were met by Falmouth Principal Allyn Hutton and welcomed into the school, Falmouth seniors were met at the door by Cumberland police.
“The school was concerned that there would be a large number of students. They alerted us the day before and asked us to be there,” Cumberland Police Chief Joseph Charron said Friday.
The police prevented the approximately 70 Falmouth seniors, who were all wearing black “Class of 2010” T-shirts, from entering the school.
“We thought our response was appropriate,” Greely High School Principal Chris Mosca said Friday. “As school officials, we can’t give a wink and a nod to students not where they should be.”
Mosca said that, while they believed the students were from Falmouth, there was no way for them to guarantee that, and therefore they had an obligation to protect the Greely students by not allowing unauthorized people into the school.
“We came out, chatted with them, had some playful banter, then asked them to go on their way,” he said.
Mosca said in the past he has seen pranks start out innocently enough, then go awry. He said he was concerned that if something happened to the Falmouth students, Greely would be held responsible.
“We told them it was a great idea, but we couldn’t let them in,” Charron said. “It was a beautiful day. I suggested if they were going to skip, that they should go to the beach.”
Because Falmouth High School starts later than Greely, both groups eventually showed up at Falmouth and congregated outside the building, arm in arm.
“These are their rivals on and off the sports field. The fact that they arrived together and were there, as friends, I have nothing but respect for the way they carried it off,” said Hutton, who welcomed all the seniors into the school for breakfast.
Hutton said she just asked the 70 to 80 Greely students who showed up not to be disruptive and to leave respectfully, which, she said, they all did.
The school was happy to help them celebrate this important transition in their lives in a fun and harmless way, she said.
“If they’re going to do a prank,” Hutton said, “we thought it was very innovative, creative and respectful.”
Later in the morning, however, things apparently turned less creative.
Falmouth police said approximately 20 to 30 Greely students were reportedly seen by an employee at Shaw’s Supermarket on Route 1 at 9:45 with open containers of Budweiser beer inside the store.
The students left in multiple vehicles before the police arrived and police said the students could not be found.
Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated with additional information on May 26, 2010.