Rio Rancho Public Schools officials said five seniors at Rio Rancho High School removed the license plates from 76 cars parked in the student lot during school hours Tuesday and arranged them into the shape of "2014" on campus, KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, reported Thursday.
Police said a school resource officer took down a report and identified the suspects, but left punishment up to the district.
The district said the incident is being treated as vandalism, which can carry a punishment ranging from suspension to a police referral for a first-time offense. Officials said they could not discuss specific punishments for the students.
Officials said the license plates were returned to the correct cars before the end of the school day.