Parents: Suffern High School students suspended, banned from prom after livestock senior prank

The district tells says the prank involved several instances of animal mistreatment on campus and that the students not only violated their code of conduct but the prom contract they signed.

Blaise Gomez

Jun 13, 2024, 4:25 PM

Updated 38 days ago


A senior prank involving livestock at Suffern High School isn’t being taken as a joke by the district.
News 12 received a video of the prank showing a goat on the loose on campus and a police officer trying to nab it.
Parents say four teens were suspended and two, who are seniors, were barred from attending prom as a result.
“I’m a mom to a senior who wasn’t involved, but I can’t even imagine,” says Michele Nash, outgoing Suffern PTO president. “You wait your entire life to go to senior prom and now, imagine being told you can’t go. It was what most parents think was a harmless prank.”
The district tells News 12 the incident involved several instances of animal mistreatment on campus and that the students not only violated their code of conduct but also the prom contract they signed.
“This prank involved several instances of the mistreatment of an animal inside our school building which we do not condone and why we responded accordingly. This is a discipline issue involving students who violated the school’s code of conduct as well as the prom contract they signed,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Erik Gundersen.
News 12 spoke to the mom of one 17-year-old senior involved. She says the goat is their family goat, which is a month old. She says her son drove to school with the goat in his car and concealed the animal briefly in a bookbag, but that it wasn’t hurt during the prank and is back home safe.
“He’s a good boy. A high honors student,” says Kanwal Jillani. “He’s very upset, and it hurts. My daughter got suspended too.”
Jillani says her daughter, who’s a freshman, wasn’t involved in the prank but tried to take the blame for her brother so that he wouldn’t get in trouble.
Another student involved reached out to News 12 and said that teachers, staff and even police were taking photos with the animal before it was caught and provided a photo of an officer holding the goat. The student says the goat was put in an enclosed area on campus during the prank and was not in danger.
The school district has not confirmed that information.
“This goat gets proper care at home, all the nutrients it needs and has free roam of the backyard and interior of the house,” says the student. “The thought that the administration in my school could say the goat is ‘mistreated’ is shocking considering they were the ones chasing it around and then called animal control to take it away. They also happened to leave out the part where teachers were participating in the fun and taking pictures. [I], as well as the other students, would like the proper information out in the public instead of us seeming like animal abusers."
Hudson Valley SPCA President Joan Kay says the incident, while not in good taste, would not rise to the level of what rescuers would consider mistreatment or abuse.
“I think the better opportunity for the school here would be to use this as a teaching moment to say, listen, we know we all love our pets but there’s things you just don’t do. For example, putting them in your backpack and taking them to school,” says Kay. “Prom is for the rest of your life. You only have one prom. It’s a bit extreme given the fact that the goat was fine and went back to his loving home.”
A similar senior prank was caught on video this week at Goshen High School when roosters were let loose on campus. Goshen Schools Superintendent Dr. Kurtis Kotes says the students were not disciplined in that incident and the animals were safely transported to a local farm.

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