Streaking Seniors Find Doors Locked at BHS

By Suzanne La Barre
Tuesday June 06, 2006

The annual senior streaking tradition at Berkeley High School nearly went awry Monday when students descended upon the school ready to flaunt skin, only to find out the doors were locked. 

Dressed in masks, capes and smeared in body paint, streaking students circulated the school moments before lunch Monday, attempting to gain entry into the locked school. They eventually found an in on Allston Way, but not before attracting the attention of several security guards. 

After a speedy run around campus—with onlookers aplenty—15 naked seniors were caught. It is unclear how many students were involved. 

Those caught streaking will not graduate from high school or participate in senior activities unless they complete 40 hours of community service on campus by June 15, said Berkeley High School Vice Principal Denise Brown 

“While people say it’s just running naked, it’s still breaking the rules,” she said. 

Senior streaking is a tradition at Berkeley that dates back roughly 20 years, Brown said, but in recent years, students have become more sophisticated about their execution. 

They plan well in advance (they have meetings, she said), and on the day of the event, they skip school in the morning, pile out of cars around lunchtime and race through campus stark naked, crossing their fingers that they skirt security. 

In April, Berkeley High School Principal Jim Slemp and the student activities director warned seniors against upholding the tradition. Students received written statements about possible consequences—which are the same every year, Brown said—if they are caught. 

The school’s primary concern is safety, she said. 

“There are so many kids, and it’s so out of control,” Brown said. “They go to someone’s house (beforehand), they’re drinking and doing drugs. I’m just afraid someone’s going to get hurt.” 

She recalled that a student fell last year and was kicked in the side as fellow streakers fled by. 

Rick Ayers, lead teacher of the small school Community Arts and Sciences, said he generally avoids the senior streaking fiasco, though he isn’t sure why administrators don’t just let students get it out of their system. 

Debian Watts, a freshman, found the event amusing. His friend Robert Edwards, a sophomore, joked, “They was real butt, booty naked” before handing down an opinion: “It was weird.” 

Freshman Monique Williams, said it was definitely “different. I just saw a whole bunch of people and I was kinda’ scared.”