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Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.
Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.

Students of Wetaskiwin Composite High School (WCHS) were baffled this week after they received notice from their school administration that participation in a several year graduation tradition, an annual water fight, could result in their suspension.

In a letter sent out to parents and guardians of WCHS from Vice Principal Shawn Willmott on behalf of WCHS School Administration on June 10, 2021 parents and guardians are informed that there may be consequences for participating in the water fight.

“It has come to our attention that there may be a potential water fight among students during and/or after school on Friday June 11,” the letter states.

“Please be aware that students engaging in this activity may be subject to suspension and be barred from certain school activities (e.g. graduation ceremony, etc.). RCMP and City By-law officers have been notified regarding this activity as well.

“Please do not engage in this activity anywhere near the school, as it is disruptive to the school day and causes much concern from other students and their parents.”

Students say that part of the reason for the school wanting to cancel the water fight was because non-participants in the water fight got hurt by thrown water balloons and water bottles a few years ago.

Kristy Hartmann, a parent of a WCHS student, says that the way the school went about making the announcement was wrong.

She says they should have made an announcement over the PA system during school giving guidelines to the students, including that the water fight would have to be off school property, stay away from the vehicles in the parking lot, don’t throw water balloons or spray water at unwilling participants, clean up after yourselves and to be safe.

“Instead they put out these threats,” says Hartmann. “The way that it was worded was wrong.”

Following the release of the letter, students and parents alike wrote into administration expressing their frustration at the situation.

Graduates stated that they felt banning the water fight was extremely unfair, especially given that there will be no regular graduation celebrations or ceremonies this year because of the pandemic.

“We are trying to get our graduate year man,” said a WCHS student on why they planned to go forward with the water fight regardless if administration would give them the go-ahead.

On June 11, Grade 12 students were visited in their classrooms by Willmott who told them that they could proceed with the water fight as long as they did so off of school property and were aware of their surroundings.

“He said as long as you’re not on school property, you’re fine,” another WCHS student explained.

On Friday afternoon students could be seen on the outskirts of the WCHS parking lot and beyond with water balloons, water guns, buckets, and many soaked head to toe. Dozens of students proclaimed the annual event a success, and are glad to not be facing suspension for their participation.

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