Graffiti prank tweaks huge rivalry, may get felony charges

Cameron Smith

High school vandalism happens every day. Students carve names into plastic chairs and write graffiti on school walls, and most are eventually punished.

No matter what the perpetrators of those relatively petty crimes are forced to do as penance, it's likely that it won't be as severe as whatever penalty is eventually handed down to the unknown students -- presumed to attend nearby rival Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High -- who defamed a Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde High courtyard and statue over Memorial Day weekend.

According to Las Vegas-based, and seen in the photo above, the entire Palo Verde courtyard was the subject of pro-Bishop Gorman graffiti. More strikingly, the school's Panther mascot was covered in blue and orange paint, the colors of Gorman's famed football team, which is perennially in the running for the RivalsHigh national title and other honors.

Perhaps most notably, Clark County police have said that they intend to prosecute whoever is responsible for the "prank" with felony charges, which would likely include suspension and expulsion but could also stretch to possible jail time.

"We are expending the resources to make sure that the person or persons are brought to justice so we want to send a message out that this is not acceptable," said Lt. Ken Young of the Clark County School District Police told "We are looking at it from the criminal side and that it is destruction of school property so now we are looking at man hours that are used to get the school back to restore it back to its natural state."

While the graffiti perpetrators may not have been Bishop Gorman students -- the private school has since released a statement saying that none of its students were involved -- it seems likely that they were students of some sort, if only because of their overwhelming naiveté. On Tuesday, the courtyard painters posted a video -- first discovered by -- of their exploit entitled "Bishop Gorman Senior Prank on Palo" on YouTube, which shows them painting up the school courtyard. The clip was first discovered and reported by, but is still readily available to be viewed online, which you can also do directly above.

Regardless of who is responsible, the prank has added bad blood to a fierce Nevada rivalry, entering the summer before the 2011 football season. The question now is whether it will add jail time to some young, unknown graffti artist's life.

Clearly, Palo Verde students won't feel sorry for whoever is eventually charged.

"We're probably going to have to pay to get that off and we're already in a tight spot when it comes the budget," said student Kate Brady.

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