Students and teachers arriving at Burlingame High School on Thursday morning found themselves stuck outside of the school after 40 of the school’s doors had been glued shut.
The apparent senior prank sent several hundred of the school’s students to different classrooms and left school administrators furiously threatening criminal litigation.
The super glue had been shot into the door’s locks; it took several hours and cost about $2,000 to fix the damage — enough to warrant a felony charge, if the perpetrators are caught, according to police.
The practical joke did not leave San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent David Miller laughing.
"This is not a senior prank — this is a felony. This is something that puts students at risk. We will not rest until we find out who did it and prosecute them," he said.
The school is offering a $500 reward for any information about the incident.
Burlingame police Cmdr. Mike Matteucci said a janitor reported seeing two carloads of students in the school’s parking lot by the pool around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, some in a white car and others in a blue car.
School Principal Matt Biggar said "potential suspects" have been identified and will be asked to come forward rather than wait for the results of the investigation, which includes fingerprint analysis.
The damage was discovered by a custodian around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, and at least 10 classes of students were displaced for first period because they couldn’t get into classrooms, he said. The classrooms were all opened by mid-morning, he said.
Biggar said the glue prank was not unprecedented. About four years ago, some doors were glued shut, but the extent of damage was far less severe.
If the students are discovered, they will join the ranks of Daniel Blaine Marchant, a Palo Alto High School student who was arrested last year on felony vandalism charges after leaving his Volvo upside down on the school grounds as a prank.
"Some students managed to finagle car keys from a couple of the teachers and had an adult drive them into the courtyard and decorated them. They even put their names on it so everyone knew who’d done it," she said.
The worst prank she’d seen in her career was at her previous school, where a student drove an old, beat-up car into the pool and did about $10,000 worth of damage.
"We never found out who did it," she said.