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Principal Apologizes for Suspending Students for Riding Bikes

From guest blogger Hannah Rose Sacks

After suspending 65 senior high school students for riding their bikes to school on their last day, Kenowsa Hills High School Principal Katie Pennington has apologized.

The organized bike-riding event had parents lined up along the route to cheer for their graduating students and take pictures. The students' three-mile ride was escorted by police and had doughnuts provided by Walker Mayor Rob VerHeulen, reports MLive.

Pennington was not made aware of the event prior to the ride and treated it as a senior prank, which is not permitted. Pennington told MLive that she was concerned about the students' safety, saying the event disrupted traffic flow.

The students involved are adamant that it was not a prank. Senior Class President Zac Totten told MLive, "We planned a fun, senior send-off, not a prank. A prank is something that causes harm, funny for one side and not the other."

Another student, Stephanie Rasch, echoed Totten's sentiments, saying, "I understand her position, as the principal she needs to be in charge of all of us, but it's really not her worry how we get to school."

As a result of the suspension, the 65 students of the 300 student senior class who were suspended were not allowed to participate in the school's traditional "senior walk," where students have their last walk through the school and say goodbye to teachers and underclassmen.

That evening, more than 200 parents and students attended a planned board work session, overflowing the room's capacity. Students stood outside the building holding signs reading, "Ride or Die."

At the meeting Totten issued an apology to Pennington, regretting the surprise but hoping the bike ride could become a tradition in the future. "I just feel bad that we blindsided her," he told MLive.

Beyond apologizing, Pennington has organized a second senior walk for those students who missed the first as well as an additional senior walk for the entire graduating class to walk together.

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