'I Am Extremely Sorry,' Herndon Senior Says

How a senior prank went wrong—and a confusing series of events led to #Lettheboyswalk2012.

Ashkan Naedri says he would make a speech apologizing to the whole school.

Chris Shoemaker says he regrets everything. His father says an appropriate penalty would be to make Chris and five other boys accused of plotting a baby oil prank last week at scrub the urinals with a toothbrush while their classmates watched.

Just let them walk at graduation, they say.

Shoemaker and Naderi are two of three Herndon High School seniors

Three other students accused of helping plan—but not participating in—the prank have been suspended for three days and will be able to take part in graduation.

The case has sparked discussion of what exactly happened and whether the punishment is too harsh. It's also sparked a local Twitter trend—#lettheboyswalk2012—not to mention t-shirts with the same message.

"I think graduation should be a reward for 13 years of being a good student," said Bob Shoemaker, whose youngest child, Chris, is an honor roll student and a 6-foot-5 center on the varsity basketball team.

"This showed very poor judgment," he added. "My son is remorseful. He offered several times to clean it up. No doubt, it was a dumb thing to do. They did not have any malicious intent. They did not think through the potential for danger."

Naderi, also a Herndon basketball player, said there was a lot that was not thought out about the prank. He says pranks are a longstanding tradition at the school, and that the group only came up with the idea the day before. The plan was to get some big bottles of baby oil and then come out a few minutes before second period and empty them in the main hall.

Five minutes into the prank—and with only about 5 oz. spilled onto the floor, Naderi said he was "caught red-handed."

"Today’s incidents caused a major safety concern for every student and adult in the building,” Herndon Principal William Bates wrote in a letter to school families. "Any student who is caught engaging in these types of disruptive behaviors will face a suspension from the school and possible recommendation for expulsion.”

Said Naderi: "At the end of the day, no one got hurt. I am extremely sorry."

Both boys say they were involved with the baby oil incident only. Confusing the situation: there was graffiti painted on the school last Tuesday night and a fire alarm was pulled shortly after the baby oil incident.

Both students maintain they had nothing to do with either of those. In fact, they were being questioned by school staff when the alarm was pulled, they said.

"When someone pulled the alarm, that changed the whole picture," said Bob Shoemaker. "I assure you, the boys did not think that far ahead."

Meanwhile, Bob Shoemaker said that a school security officer changed his son's statement. Chris Shoemaker was also patted down and checked for a weapon, Bob Shoemaker said.

"My son wrote a statement and admitted his part, but it did not include pouring the baby oil," he said. "He had second thoughts and did not pour it. He and another student returned to class. The security officer changed his statement after Chris signed it from admission of purchasing baby oil to one of admitting guilt and pouring the oil."

The Shoemakers have an appeal hearing scheduled for later this week. Bob Shoemaker said he thinks a fair punishment would be a uniform suspension for all. He said he hopes to get his son's penalty reduced to a three-day suspension and that Chris will be allowed to walk at graduation.

"I think that is a reasonable compromise," he said. 

Chris Shoemaker's graduation gown sits ready to go, pending the appeals hearing.

Naderi—who was the only student caught in the act—is not holding out such hope. On Monday, he was told his suspension stands.

"Mr. Bates told my mom I can come get my cap and gown and take it home to take pictures," he said. "That's not going to be the same."

Naderi says he will be the first in his family to head to college. He hasn't shared the news yet with his father, who is working in Iran and scheduled to travel back to Virginia for Herndon's graduation.

"He will be devastated," he said. "So we are trying to hold off."

Karen Goff June 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
New one up today in case you did not see it - suspension still stands for Chris Shoemaker, who appealed it. Is there another angle you would like to see covered? If not, we are likely done, though Herndon Patch will be at the actual ceremony today to cover graduation as usual.
PHYLLIS PILKINS June 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Get over it and let these boys walk One day they may be President besides the ones so against them lm sure in their day did worse and just didnt get caught, But oh know you were the perfect child RIGHT!! and have the perfect children RIGHT!!!! Get-over-it!
Eric Metcalf June 14, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I think the problem is that now, letting the 3 guys walk would be more of a distraction to the 500+ who weren't disciplined. Let everyone else have their moment and now they'll all have something interesting to talk about at class reunions.
Will Ivey June 15, 2012 at 07:18 AM
I totally agree with the Principal's decision. The kids had been warned of the consequences of these actions. What if someone had fallen due to their "joke" and got hurt. A person could even get paralyzed what if a pregnant woman had fallen on the oiled floor. It’s not about “it didn’t happen this time”. Those things have happened to others and these kids should be wised enough to think in the consequences of their actions before acting. Parents said they were good kids for 13 years?? They should be GOOD KIDS ALWAYS.
The Chef June 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Given that they were aware of the consequences before they decided to try this prank, I agree that the school should carry this out, lest students would walk all over adminstration. It's not like they don't actually get to graduate; they just can't walk, right? That being said, however, I believe the school could and should consider in the future to implement more fitting consequences to this offense. Not letting a student participate in a ceremony in which he has rightfully made the grades and completed the required curriculum to have earned the experience, because of a prank that almost happened, does not seem like a punishment that fits the crime. Since the prank would have been dangerous to the school community and staff and would have been a disservice to everyone, wouldn't it be more fitting to have a community service/cleaning oriented punishment that actually benefits the community as a whole? It seems to be a more appropriate reaction, which teaches pranksters a lesson that their pranks actually affect other people. Now, they are more likely only thinking about how this is affecting them (and their immediate families), and possibly not giving a second thought to the community of people they almost endangered.


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