Despite administrative threats of disciplinary action, an estimated 35 Berkeley High School seniors took part in the annual “Senior Streak” on Monday.
Almost as soon as the bell rang at 11:32 a.m. to signal the end of third period and the beginning of lunch, seniors in nothing but tennis shoes, masks and body paint ran across the Berkeley High courtyard as friends stood cheering and snapping photographs. The students ran out the gate on Allston Way and escaped in a set of getaway cars driven by classmates.
“That was great,” one junior who plans to participate in the streak next year said on Monday afternoon. “I really love seeing these fun traditions.”
Berkeley High administrators said previously they would suspend any identifiable students. But though several witnessed Monday’s streak, it was not immediately clear how many students had been recognized.
In a series of memos addressed to the senior class in past weeks, Berkeley High co-principals Laura Leventer and Mary Ann Valles urged students to keep their clothes on while on campus or risk losing the privilege of walking the stage at the school’s graduation ceremony Friday.
“It is completely inappropriate, in a year of serious budget crisis, for us to focus our time, staff resources and money cleaning up after or monitoring such events,” the principals wrote in a letter dated June 2. “Participants will be subject to consequences including suspension, expulsion, financial remuneration and/or exclusion from senior prom.”
Because the streak happened after the prom, which took place on Saturday night, streak participants ran without fear of missing that senior year tradition. Streak organizers said they made the choice to hold the streak this week instead of last so as not to risk being barred from the prom.
Some students who chose not to streak said their choice had nothing to do with the threatened consequences.
“I fully support the people who [did] run,” said one senior girl. “I just don’t feel comfortable running naked in front of my 900 closest friends.”
Several of the students who did streak said the threats of disciplinary action did not deter them from participating.
“The point of doing it is that the administration doesn’t like it,” said one streaker who declined to be named. “We’re not doing it because they like it. It’s a prank to make the students happy and the administrators mad.”
Another senior said she was glad she had participated in the yearly tradition. “It’s a way to say good-bye,” she said.