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Punishment for Texarkana Student’s Prank Sparks Protest, National Attention [VIDEO]

Students at a Texarkana high school are protesting the school over punishment handed to a student who jumped in a pond over a prank, and some students say they are getting suspended for their protests.

According to a report on, Texas High School senior Austin Byrd jumped into a pond in the center of the campus Tuesday. He jumped during the school’s annual event of senior students dressing up as characters in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

Students reportedly told KSLA the pond-jumping is a tradition that happens each school year. They said Byrd was suspended from school for five days and will have to spend 20 days in an alternative program when he returns from suspension, as well as pay a $300 fine.

Other students responded by promoting the hashtag #FREEBYRD on Twitter and other avenues, including on car windows, painted on their faces or chanting it while holding signs as they stood off-campus in protest.

One student said she was suspended for one day for having #FREEBYRD painted on her face and her car.

KSLA reports school administrators said Byrd’s punishment aligned with school policy. But Byrd informed the TV station his suspension was reduced to two days and 10 days in alternative school.

Asked if he would repeat the stunt, Byrd told the station he probably would, as he was trying to create some final high school memories.

The story is starting to gain national attention, including a story on CNN’s iReport.

See the complete story here, and watch video of Byrd’s stunt below.

Was the punishment too severe? Were the students right to be upset?

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