Chicken crossing the hallway no joke — prank almost bars student from graduation

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In this file photo, students walk outside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School in Chicago on the first day of the 2016-17 school year. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

In a long and storied tradition at King College Prep High School, members of the class of 2018 put their heads together to come up with a new take on the senior prank.

They wouldn’t lob condiments at the walls (too destructive), or grease the staircases (too dangerous) or light smoke bombs inside (real fireworks?!) as earlier graduating classes had done on their way out of the door. Nor would they target any freshmen, remembering how mean those kinds of stunts had been.

Instead, they’d release a couple of live chickens inside the school building, which in fact on June 1 –– after collecting money from classmates and arranging a ride to the Near Southwest Side to acquire a pair of pollos vivos –– a group of them did.

Video shot during the afternoon prank shows two small white birds standing in a second floor hallway of the school, 4445 S. Drexel.

For her role in the chickening of King, Jyordan Harper was handed a five-day suspension, meaning she couldn’t walk across the stage with her classmates at graduation on Saturday.

The length of the suspension, typically reserved for incidents where police need to be called, was justified because her “attendance presents imminent endangerment to students or staff,” read the misconduct report sent to her mother on June 4. And the ban began the next day.

“Just to be clear, Jyordyn cannot attend the graduation because that is a school-sponsored event that occurs during her suspension,” Principal David Narain emailed her mother. “Pursuant to the section of the CPS Student Code of Conduct that I sent you, students may not attend school events while suspended.”

Jyordan has said they just wanted the stunt this year to be funny, in the spirit of pranking.

After the Sun-Times asked CPS officials about the severity of the punishment, its duration was shortened to just three days, meaning she’s allowed to don a cap and gown with her friends, though school administrators then announced plans to pursue the rest of the seniors involved.

The CPS officials never responded to the requests for comment.

But the principal emailed to Jyordan’s mom: “There should be no problem getting her caught up and prepared for the Saturday ceremony and we are fully prepared to support Jyordan when she returns.”

The misconduct report says the person who removed the chickens said they appeared to be sick and described the act as “animal cruelty.”

“It was animal cruelty, someone could be arrested,” read the report. But police were not called.

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