At Biloxi High, zero tolerance for ‘homecoming pranks’

Biloxi police and school officials are united in their desire to keep homecoming crime-free.
Biloxi police and school officials are united in their desire to keep homecoming crime-free.

Ahead of homecoming week, police and school officials are warning Biloxi High students to not let things get out of hand this year.

School district officials narrowed their concern on a homecoming ritual between Biloxi High juniors and seniors called “Junior/Senior War.”

In a voice mail to parents, a district official said: “This is not something that the Biloxi Public Schools supports or encourages. This event has spiraled out of control over the last several years and has resulted in numerous instances of property damage, unruly conduct by local students, and students being a nuisance throughout the Biloxi community.”

Both the superintendent and police chief said they are taking a zero-tolerance approach.

“In their desire to ‘top’ each other, our students are putting their safety and their future success at risk,” school district Superintendent Arthur McMillan said. “These homecoming pranks have pushed our citizens past the point of tolerance.”

Citing past incidents of property damage, Police Chief John Miller said in a statement: “In the past, we’ve taken people to the police station and called their parents. Students may very well be arrested now, and we’d hate to see an arrest record hamper their chances of going to a premier college or joining the military. We’re asking people to make good decisions, and we’re warning students and parents now.

“We had an incident last year where an officer was called to a report of a prowler one night at a residence, and a student dressed in black clothes was lurking outside the house. He turned on the officer and was brandishing a handgun. It was only a paintball gun, but that could have been a deadly situation.”

The school district is asking parents to keep a close eye on their children.

“We want the Biloxi community to take pride in our students and not view them as a nuisance,” the voice mail said. “Help us set the right example for our students as we mold them into the leaders of tomorrow.”

There will be additional police presence at and around the high school this year.

Homecoming week begins Monday.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory