72,000 ladybugs released into Maryland school for senior prank

Chopticon High School students said about 75 seniors were involved in buying the ladybugs for last week's prank.

Ben Hooper

MORGANZA, Md., May 26 (UPI) -- Authorities in Maryland said a group of high school students were arrested for a senior prank that released 72,000 ladybugs into their school.

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said five suspects wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts broke into Chopticon High School in Morganza about 3:40 a.m. May 20 while two other suspects waited in their getaway car.


The suspects released about 72,000 ladybugs they had ordered from the Internet, the sheriff's office said.

Four of the suspects, juvenile males, were charged with fourth degree burglary, property destruction under $1,000 and disruption of school activities. They were released into the custody of their parents.

The three adult suspects, all males, will be charged via criminal summons, investigators said.

Senior Eric Maxey, who was not present during the prank, said about 75 seniors pitched in money to buy the ladybugs for a total of about $100.

"Everyone was obviously laughing the next morning because it was so unique," Maxey told ABC News. "It didn't cause any damage and the school had already bagged up most of them by our second period."


Students at the school organized protests and circulated an online petition after officials announced one of the students involved in the prank would not be allowed to walk at graduation.

"The tradition of senior pranks has been around for years," the authors of an online petition wrote. "Many senior pranks result in permanent destruction and thousands of dollars in damage, this prank however, was not the case. The lady bugs did not hurt anyone, and were cleared from the school in a day. Yet [the student] still can't walk. This is a clearly unreasonable punishment from the administration and must be over turned."

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