Teens offered settlement in Truckee High vandalism case
Students involved in a senior prank that resulted in more than $5,000 in vandalism at Tahoe Truckee High School have been offered a settlement by the Nevada County district attorney’s office.If the 24 students involved accept the settlement, which would avoid felony and misdemeanor charges for the graduates, they would repay $5,100 in damages to the school and complete 30 hours of community service.”After quite a bit of discussion, we decided [the settlement] was the most practical course of action,” said District Attorney Fred Holmes. “We’re offering them an incredibly attractive settlement.”If students don’t accept the contract, their cases could go to trial, Holmes said.On June 19, one day after Truckee High’s graduation, an estimated 28 teens broke into the school and spread condiments and flour on the floors, lockers and walls but didn’t get into the classrooms, according to police reports.”There have been incidents involving graduating seniors over the years, but this is most serious,” said Holmes, who has served as district attorney in Truckee since 1979.Police responded to the campus after someone reported that teens were entering the high school. Most of the estimated 28 teens scattered when officers showed up at 11:30 p.m., but three, who were on the roof when police arrived, were arrested and booked in jail by police.In the weeks following the incident, most of the remaining students turned themselves in and Truckee police charged them on suspicion of burglary and felony vandalism.Bruce Watkins, the father of one of the students who was arrested, said he believes the settlement is fair, but the arrests and original felony charges were unreasonable.”My daughter is guilty,” Watkins said. “The $5,100 [in vandalism the students did] is not called for, not responsible. But, my daughter taken to jail in handcuffs … That’s overreaction.”The teens will have the option to complete their community service with any nonprofit, as long as the work is completed by Nov. 1. Since most of the teens will be leaving for college in the fall, Holmes said he’d like to see the work completed locally over the summer.In the future, Holmes said, “I would hope that graduating seniors would use their energy for the improvement of their school and community rather than their destruction.”
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