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West Fargo students sandbag high school doors as prank, could face consequences

WEST FARGO - High school seniors here found a mischievous purpose for unused sandbags left over from the spring flood fight.

Custodial staff arrived just after 6 a.m. today to find sandbags piled about 3 feet high in front of all of the school's major doors, Principal Gary Clark said.

School officials brought in a tractor and trucks and had custodial and maintenance staff come in early to remove the bags quickly so classes could start on time at 7:35 a.m., he said.

Officials are taking the prank seriously, Clark said. Blocking doors not only keeps students from getting to class, but also would slow down firefighters trying to enter the building in the event of a fire, he said.

"It becomes an inconvenience for us," he said. "I mean, it's cute to the kids, I understand that. And they didn't damage (the building), and we appreciate that. But it's like, then what does the next class do to try to one-up them? And that's the part we don't like about publicity and about that kind of thing."

In the end, the joke may be on the students. Clark initially told The Forum that students would foot the bill for the overtime and equipment costs incurred, but later said school officials are considering a number of consequences, including charging the students, making them do community service and in-school consequences.

Officials have already identified and talked to some of those responsible, learning that the sandbags came from rural residents who didn't use them, he said.

Clark estimated that 60 to 70 students took part in the prank.

"They were a little afraid of getting caught by the police, so they did it in a hurry, is what they tell me," he said.