Updated:DALLAS, Ga. —
A senior class president accused of vandalizing his school will not be allowed to return.
The Paulding County School Board decided Tuesday night to deny Jacob Zimmerman’s suspension appeal. He will not be allowed to attend East Paulding High School and will finish his high school education at an alternative school.
The 17-year-old had wanted to be able to attend the school for at least part of his day to attend several AP classes, but the school board ruled against him.
“It just really hurts. The school board – you’d think they want the best for the kids, but this is the exact opposite,” Zimmerman told Channel 2's .
Zimmerman is one of two dozen teens charged in a March 11 vandalism spree at East Paulding.
Surveillance footage shows the teens tagging the phrase “Seniors 2012” all over the campus.
Zimmerman said it was a long-standing senior prank that was supposed to involve just painting a street. He said when he saw it getting out of hand, he left.
School officials said the vandalism led to $7,500 in damages. The teens were all charged with criminal interference with government property – a felony.
The school board said not only will the suspension stick, Zimmerman is not allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities or walk at graduation.
“I feel like it’s just because I stood up for what I believed in that they felt like they had to make it worse for me,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman was in the running to be valedictorian, which is why he hired an attorney to help him fight to be reinstated.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Lester Tate, said he is reviewing his options for how to proceed.