Jacob Zimmerman, 17, was among 24 students arrested in March for the vandalism at East Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.
Shortly after midnight on March 11, authorities got a call from a passerby who saw people painting the school. When officials arrived, most of the students scattered, but some were arrested and they gave the names of others.
School buildings, roadways, signs, two county-owned vehicles and the brick entry to a nearby subdivision were spray-painted during the prank. Officials said it cost $7,500 to scrub it all clean.
Zimmerman -- the 2012 class president -- was charged with a felony count of interference with government property, which carries a sentence of one to five years in jail.
He and the other students were also suspended for 10 days, but the suspension was extended for the duration of the semester by a school tribunal.
"I feel like all of the students, including myself, have gone through enough punishment," Zimmerman said. "They had to take it to the extreme."
Denise Zimmerman, Jacob's mother, said her son deserved a 10-day suspension, but the longer suspension and felony charge were extreme.
"At the time of this incident, he was ranked No. 1 in the class of 2012," she said. She said she hopes the felony charge and the suspension for the duration of his high school career don't prevent him from studying aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech, where he has been accepted to study.
"We thought the punishment was over the top," she said. "It was so severe, we were dumbfounded."
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