Wakefield High teens describe 'senior prank' gone wrong

(WTVD photo)

RALEIGH - Raleigh police charged four Wakefield High School seniors with trespassing and damage to property misdemeanors.

The charges were delivered via criminal summons and come in the wake of the May 30 incident in which the four are accused of hanging a teddy bear by a noose and an accompanying sign that reads: "Make Wakefield Tripp Again #smartlunch."

CLICK HERE for more from WTVD Two of those students, Kai Birdsall, 18, and his brother, Maxwell, also 18, spoke exclusively to WTVD about the incident, which they said was intended to be a "senior prank." Kai, along with Romir Seth, 17, and Zachary Holt, 18, were charged with first degree trespassing, damage to real property, and damage to personal property.

Maxwell was charged with first degree trespassing and damage to personal property. "Originally, we wanted to do a senior prank that people would really talk about and would be better than the last one," Kai Birdsall said. "Our original plan when we got to the school was to suspend a cow from the side of the school where the teddy bear was." Maxwell added, "The tradition of the school is to put the cow on top of the roof. We wanted to take it a step further ... but when we arrived (at school), the cow wasn't there." The Birdsall brothers maintain the prank wasn't race-based. The school's new principal is black, and the sign references former principal Tripp Crayton, who is white. "We were not thinking about what people would see and what people would think when it was up there," Kai said. "So there was no intention of trying to depict someone being hanged. Especially not racial intentions. Nothing like that." Both say the teddy bear was not hanging by a noose. "(One of the four students) just tied it around the neck, trying to get it done. It was a stupid mistake," Maxwell added. Kai Birdsall said he hasn't received any hateful messages after the incident, which created tension on campus and caused the school to have a "black eye." "Most people are supportive," he said. Maxwell regrets the act. "We got talked to a little bit ... about how ignorant we were. And we were pretty ignorant. It was stupid to do that," Maxwell said. "It played out the worst as possible. I wish I could go back and change it all." The four will be in a Wake County courtroom on Monday to face their charges. Wakefield's graduation is Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center. According to the Birdsall brothers, they are not allowed to walk at graduation. "Hopefully this won't affect us in the long-term," Kai said. He plans to attend Wake Tech in pursuit of a career in dentistry. Maxwell is interested in welding. Efforts by WTVD to contact Seth and Holt were unsuccessful.

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