In the eyes of high school administrators, the students' end-of-year prank had finally crossed the line.
Eleven days ago, a donkey was found tied to the flagpole at the gate of the Emek Harod School on Kibbutz Ein Harod in the Jezreel Valley. Nearby were chickens with their feet bound.
The schoolyard was littered with dirt, smashed watermelons and dead fish.
And on the walls, "death notices" were hung with the words, "we sorrowfully announce the death of the kibbutz school."
The perpetrators among the school's graduating class called it a prank with a message.
But school administrators called it vandalism, against which they had warned several times during the school year. So the school said the errant students would not be allowed to attend the class party.
In response, the rest of the graduating class, backed by their parents, decided to hold the party at a private venue. The administration boycotted it.
The school, founded in 1927, was originally a kibbutz agricultural school, but in recent years, children from moshavim and other communities have joined the student body.
Next year, it will move to new premises and the kibbutz kids will no longer be a majority.
In a letter to parents, school principal Ilana Lustig wrote that the fake notices of the kibbutz school's "death" were "an expression of the students' inability to accept the other within the school's walls."
But students who took part in the prank said they had been careful not to damage school property, and had intended to convey only that "this was simply the end of an era in the life of the school," as one put it. "Interpreting these actions as racism is completely mistaken."
The Gilboa Regional Council said it supported the school's actions and would be investigating the matter thoroughly in the coming days.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now