Students at West Linn, Wilsonville collaborate in failed school swap May 20

A longstanding West Linn High School springtime tradition — the senior prank — took a bit of a wrong turn this year.

In a collaboration between groups of students at both schools, seniors from West Linn and Wilsonville agreed to swap places at their opposites’ school for part of the day on May 20. Wilsonville administrators were tipped off to the plan, however, and they met the West Linn students at the door. WHS principal Aaron Downs said that when the students were told to return to West Linn, they did so “politely and quietly.”

“It was extremely low-key and quick,” he said.

Over at West Linn, administrators also were aware of the students’ plans. When the Wilsonville students arrived at the school, they also were turned away, and they headed back to their home school.

Not so for a part of the West Linn contingent. Instead of returning to their home school, about 25 to 30 seniors from West Linn took a detour to Lake Oswego High School.

Upon arriving at LOHS, the West Linn students took advantage of the temporary chaos of a passing period, when students were on the move. The West Linn students were able to mingle for a short time before being recognized and rounded up by LOHS administrators, who confirmed the incident but deferred questions about it to WLHS.

“The kids were great, they were very respectful,” WLHS Principal Lou Bailey said. “They weren’t defiant; they gave their names.”

The students voluntarily returned to WLHS. Despite their cooperation, they made an impression at LOHS.

“Anytime you have that many kids in a school who shouldn’t be there, it causes a disruption,” Bailey said.

Citing school district rules concerning privacy, Bailey was unable to discuss what consequences, if any, the errant students would face. He emphasized that the WLHS seniors were outstanding students and citizens, overall.

“The kids involved are all really good kids. They’ve made great choices in 13 years of education,” he said. “They made a really disappointing decision, and from what I understand they’ve apologized to Lake Oswego and Wilsonville.”

Traditionally, West Linn seniors discuss their prank plans with school administrators. Last year, the class of 2013 hired a mariachi band to follow the amused principal around the school one day.

“Well played,” Bailey said at the time.

He made it clear that the school would not have condoned or endorsed the class of 2014’s prank.

“We would never clear non-students visiting another school to disrupt the school,” he said. “It fell flat and we’ve apologized profusely to Lake Oswego High School.”

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