Baraboo High School principal suspended over senior prank

Principal takes full responsibility for letting students into building
Baraboo High School principal suspended over senior prank
Glenn Bildsten

The principal at Baraboo High School, Glenn Bildsten, is serving a two-day unpaid suspension. He was suspended by the Baraboo School District for letting students into the high school unsupervised after-hours on May 21 for a senior prank.

“A student had approached the high school principal, Mr. Bildsten, and had asked permission to conduct a senior prank, and the senior prank involved rearranging some desks in the classroom,” said Crystal Ritzenthaler, Baraboo School District administrator.

Bildsten agreed to allow eight students into the school after-hours and unsupervised.

“We think what was supposed to be an original group of eight students turned into 68 pretty quickly with the help of social media,” Ritzenthaler said. “Most of it was minor vandalism. Kids came in with baby powder, glitter, cups of water; they messed with some of the soap dispensers and things of that nature. One student did accidentally, he stood on a toilet and it broke from the wall.”

According to the school district, the students were in the school until approximately 11 p.m.

“It was a senior prank that went a little too far,” said Lt. Robert Sinden, with Baraboo Police Department.

That agency has been investigating the vandalism and has interviewed many of the students involved.

“Now as far as any type of citations, again I want to clarify, this is not a criminal investigation. If, and to clarify that, if any citations are issued those would simply be municipal citations. That’s if any are issued at this time,” Sinden said.

The school district conducted its own investigation and has already punished the students involved and the principal.

“The disciplines ranged from after school detention to one- or two-day school suspensions. Now we did have a couple of students who were athletes and with the athletic code of conduct there were some consequences of not participating in regional events. For the staff involved, I can share this because he did send out a communication with high school staff, he has received two days of unpaid suspension,” Ritzenthaler said.

Bildsten sent a letter to parents of students at the school on May 27. In it he took full responsibility for allowing the students to enter the building and being given access to some classrooms. He went on to apologize for approving the activity.

Bildsten has been a principal in the Baraboo School District for 14 years. This however, is his first year as principal at the high school. Previously he had been the principal at the middle and elementary schools.

“He’s been a good principal. He’s been in our district for a number of years. This is his first year at the high school level however, so he’s learning about the differences with students in that age group,” Ritzenthaler said.

Graduation for seniors at Baraboo High School is scheduled for June 6. The incident will not impact the graduation of any student.