GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a homecoming tradition for many high school juniors and seniors, sneaking up to each other's homes at night and tossing toilet paper all over the yards. But some Gulfport parents say that tradition has turned dangerous.
This is homecoming week in the Gulfport School District. Several parents said what started as a harmless prank has gotten way out of hand. That's because teens are using more than just toilet paper to trash people's homes.
Some neighbors in College Park woke up Monday morning and saw a white and sticky mess. There was toilet paper everywhere, flowing from the trees and covering their yards. But that's not the worst of it.
"You've got hay bales that were stolen from my next door neighbor spread across my yard. You've got mustard, eggs, you've got syrup, honey," said Ricky Dombrowski.
Dombrowski said Sunday night, he saw about 25 teens pour syrup and mustard in his mailbox, write all over his windows, and toss mayonnaise on the roof. They also smeared graffiti on this truck.
Dombrowski is a Gulfport councilman who has two children who are seniors at Gulfport High. He said over the years, his house has been hit eight times by this homecoming tradition called "rolling."
"There's no doubt it's getting out of hand. It seems to get worse and worse every year. It's unfortunate, because some of the parents approve of it. I don't approve of it as a father," said Dombrowski.
Another neighbor called the trashed yard an example of trespassing and vandalism.
"People are destroying property," said Nanette Butts. "And if you clean it up, they come right back and vandalize again. So it's gotten out of hand. Something needs to be done."
"You're not happy, but at least it'll clean up," said Dombrowski. "The problem is you can't clean up a kid that got killed, because he got hit by a moving vehicle or broke his neck trying to get into a vehicle that's moving."
Safety is also a serious concern for Gulfport's school superintendent.
"It is dangerous, and our children don't need to be running around the streets of Gulfport at any time trying to run, getting away, rolling folks' yards. I am so concerned that somebody's going to get hurt," said Glen East.
East agreed that the homecoming tradition has gone too far.
"They've gotten to where they're trying to one up each other, trying to make it worse than it was, and that's why it's gotten out of hand," East added. "They're trying to do things that are not acceptable. This year, I think it's kind of at the point where we may have to go a little further. There's some disciplinary action that could be taken."
East said the disciplinary action could be after-school detention or suspension. Gulfport police say officers will be on patrol this week, looking for teens who may be "rolling" houses. Violators could face traffic and/or criminal charges and the information will be turned over to the school district.