CUMMING, Ga. — Parents in South Forsyth aren’t thrilled about the damage caused by high school junior-senior wars during mid-October.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Community Relations Supervisor Deputy Doug Rainwater said the pranks, typically held around graduation between juniors and seniors, have become a part of homecoming week in the county.
“It used to be just around graduation, but now it’s happening in the fall, too,” he said. “And it’s lasted two weeks instead of just the one.”
One resident who asked to remain anonymous said the mess was over the top.
“It’s an absolute mess,” she said. “I woke up this morning to my driveway and yard completely trashed.”
The resident said there were 24 rolls of toilet paper, several boxes of feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, raw meat, yogurt, syrup, cereals, shaving cream and animal shavings spread throughout her yard, and the driveway was spray painted.
“I’m not sure that will come off,” she said.
She said she and her son spent two hours cleaning before leaving for the day.
“We’re still not even close to done,” she said.
Another Cumming resident experienced similar problems, but declined to be interviewed.
“We don’t want our child to suffer if our names are in the paper,” the resident said.
Rainwater said they caught 23 kids in the Dressage subdivision located in South Forsyth last week.
“We asked the owner who called if they wanted to prosecute, but they declined,” he said.
He said most calls don’t result in charges.
“The charge would be criminal trespassing, and that takes about six months to come to trial,” Rainwater said. “Parents don’t want to subject their children to being in school with kids they’ve brought charges against.”
Rainwater said most often the prank consists of just toilet paper, but others have it worse.
“About 85 percent of the kids just toilet paper,” he said. “But the other 15 percent cause more damage.”
Rainwater said those are the kids that will eventually end up doing jail time at some point in their lives.
“The kids that take it to the next level, that aren’t satisfied with just the toilet paper, they’re the ones that’ll end up being a problem in the future,” he said.
He also said the pranks put the kids at risk.
“There is the chance that a property owner will think their family is being threatened and use a weapon,” he said. “We’re not aware of any such incidents but it’s always a possibility.”
He said the schools keep in close contact with the sheriff’s office and work together at reducing the impact of wars week.
Lambert High School district residents experienced toilet papering, called TPing, during their homecoming this month, too.
“We haven’t seen the same kind of problems in north Forsyth County,” Rainwater said.
He said the kids stock up on toilet paper prior to wars week.
“Publix stores now know about the problem and won’t sell toilet paper to kids,” he said. “If they come in in groups or try to buy several packs, the stores turn them away.”
Forsyth County Schools Public Information and Communications Director Jennifer Caracciolo said the schools do not encourage or participate the planning of wars week and that this kind of activity is not the norm.
Alpharetta Police Department spokesman George Gordon said his city doesn’t have an issue during the fall season but does experience problems before graduation.
“Our biggest concern is the underage drinking,” he said. “It tends to go along with the toilet papering.”
Gordon said there are homes that experience more damage, but the department works closely with the schools to keep the activities to a minimum.
Milton and Johns Creek police say they do not have such a problem.