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Thu, Mar 30, 2017 05:38 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

P’burg school vandals get a final warning
by Susan Allen


“I want to go ahead and warn the class of 2004...In the future, we will be much tougher if damage is done. I’ve given them a whole year of fair warning...” — Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley


PRESTONSBURG—Ten Prestonsburg High School students charged with vandalizing the school will have to perform community service for flood victims.

Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley has put future vandals on notice.

“I want to go ahead and warn the class of 2004,” Bartley said. “This year and in past years, they have received diversion on a guilty plea and this year they did, too, to remain consistent. In the future, we will be much tougher if damage is done. There’s a major difference in a senior prank and school vandalism. In the future, I will do everything in my power to put someone in jail if they vandalize Prestonsburg High School or any other school. I’ve given them a whole year of fair warning and putting them on notice.”

Those charged with first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree criminal mischief were:

• Melissa E. Slone, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Kevin D. Jervis, 18, of Endicott.

• Christopher Jervis, 19, of Endicott.

• Charles A. White, 19, of Prestonsburg.

• Leslie A. Heinze, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Josh A. Pennington, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Rudy M. Pennington, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Evan C. McNutt, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Carly J. Bingham, 18, of Prestonsburg.

• Kevin Jarrell, 18, of Prestonsburg.

Bartley said charges against the students were placed on diversion for six months, which means they are to have no other criminal charges placed against them. The 10 are to also perform 20 hours each of community service “in a dedicated effort to help flood victims in Floyd County and they are to provide proof of that,” Bartley said.

“That’s 200 hours of flood damage clean up,” Bartley said.

One of the students charged in connection with the incident was a juvenile, and those proceedings are confidential under state law.

On May 29, nine current and two former students let loose live crickets in the school and smeared rotted fish remains and bait on walls and doors at the school, Prestonsburg police officer Mike Conn said.

Conn discovered the students in the school around 2 a.m. after a complaint had been received that there were several individuals walking through the neighborhood of Burke Avenue.

Conn said after he failed to find anyone in the neighborhood, he felt they must be at the high school. Conn and other city officers plus Kentucky State Police rounded up the group of students.

The seniors were barred from participating in graduation ceremonies, which were held three days later, but they graduated from high school for their academic performance, Floyd superintendent Paul Fanning said.

Bartley said some parents had approached him about their children receiving the same treatment as students who were caught in 1998 at the high school, including the son of State Rep. Greg Stumbo.

Those students caused several thousand dollars in damage, which included injecting Super Glue into door locks just after the school underwent a $1 million renovation.

A Pike County judge issued an injunction in that case that allowed the students to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Those students were required to do community service and pay for a published apology for their acts.

“That seemed fair enough,” Bartley said of the parent’s recent request. “But, I will not do that in the future. For students who do damage to schools in the future I will prosecute them with my full capabilities. It seems like the seniors at Prestonsburg High School ain’t smart enough to get away with it. They get caught every year.”

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