A dead shark was found hanging from the rafters at Ponte Vedra High School in Florida on Thursday.
WJXT reported that investigators identified five students in connection to the event.
Students told the outlet that the incident was part of a senior prank.
A massive, dead shark was discovered hanging from the rafters of a Florida high school this week.
WJXT’s Marilyn Parker reported that the shark’s carcass was discovered and removed from a stairwell at Ponte Vedra High School around 8 a.m. on Thursday. School officials told the outlet that investigators identified five students involved in the incident.
The outlet spoke to a student who said the incident was part of a senior prank. In addition, students shared photos of the shark on social media, primarily on Snapchat. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to WJXT that it’s believed to be a school prank, given that the school’s mascot is a shark.
The St. Johns County School District handed over surveillance footage of the shark being lifted into the rafters to authorities, WJXT reported, adding that the video would not be released. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed to the outlet it was investigating the incident.
Representatives for The St. Johns County School District, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. The St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is leading the investigation.
On Friday, animal advocacy group One Protest launched a change.org petition seeking criminal charges against the five students, according to WJXT. The petition has garnered 1,489 of the requested 2,500 signatures as of Saturday.
“As an animal advocacy organization, we are accustomed to seeing and hearing about execrable crimes carried out upon wildlife. This case is particularly egregious,” the petition’s statement reads. “We are dealing with high school seniors who have a blatant disregard for life and find killing, mutilating, and displaying the body of an animal as ‘funny’ or a ‘prank.'”
The statement also called for the students to be punished.
“We must uphold the laws put in place to protect wildlife and hold those who break the law accountable for their actions,” the statement said.
Following the incident, a student called the act “gruesome.”
“It’s kind of gruesome. I’ll be honest. That’s a pretty big shark too,” Julian Chandlee told WJXT. “It’s in the main courtyard. There are some steps that go up to the main hall, and that’s right over the steps, so it’s in a pretty major spot.”
Read the original article on Insider