April Fools' Day has come and gone, but two junior high school principals saved up Saturday's practical jokes and unleashed them Monday on dozens of unsuspecting teachers.
"This is the first time I've ever zapped them all at the same time," said Hunter Junior High principal David Gourley.Gourley and his close friend, Parley Jacobs, principal of Granite Park Junior High, began plotting their joke early last week. The scheme began Monday morning as teachers at both schools returned to work (students had the day off) and learned that special staff meetings had been called.
"I showed up at his place and he showed up at mine," explained Gourley.
The faculty at each school was told the school district had appointed a new principal, and the "new" administrators were introduced.
"The faculty (at Granite Park) was quite congenial and receptive but their mouths were kind of hanging on the ground," Gourley said.
The Granite Park faculty was told its principal had been given an early transfer. Teachers at Hunter were told they would likely read in the newspaper the reason for Gourley's demise, and a police officer assigned to the school was commended for handling the incident in a discreet manner.
"They thought I'd done some heinous crime," Gourley laughed.
"They pulled it off really well," said Penny Tyree, a teacher at Hunter. "They let us suffer for probably two and a half hours."
After the meetings, Gourley said some teachers gathered together in small groups and were crying. Others were planning protests. Thinking enough was enough, he called Jacobs to end the charade - but instead, the scheme was extended.
"Just as I said that, all of my phones went out at Hunter because they were putting a new phone system in," he said. "There was no way to communicate with anybody," Jacobs explained.
Gourley eventually spoke to his secretary by pay phone and discovered that she had already called the bank to change the name on the school's accounts. Both principals finally announced their April Fools' scheme over the schools' intercoms.
"These guys are so loved. We were being miserable," Tyree said. But that didn't prevent the staffs from retaliating.
When Jacobs returned, he was forced to sit in a corner of the faculty room and wear a dunce cap. Gourley was drenched in the school's shower. And both principals were greeted with empty offices.
"We took the telephone, hangers, the desk - even the paper clips," Tyree said. "Dave is not going to find his stuff for a long time."
"Once they learned, I guess they thought I needed to be humbled," Jacobs mused. "We just used it to bring our faculties together . . . and take their minds off of schoolwork."
"Both (staffs) reacted even more than we anticipated. I'm afraid that we'll be paying for this for some time to come," said Gourley.