Senior stunt claims the life of Pittman, NJ, teen
🔺 Teen drowned playing a senior scavenger hunt at Pittman High School
🔺 The event is not sanctioned by the school or town
🔺 Police are warning about other senior scavenger hunts
A South Jersey teen who drowned Sunday night was trying to swim across a lake as part of a senior scavenger hunt.
Every year, Pittman High School seniors come up with a list of tasks to be completed as a type of rite of passage before graduation.
Swimming across Alcyon Lake was on this year's list.
That's what 18-year-old Victor Rodriguez was trying to do when he became tangled in sea grass and went under the water. His body was found the next day after a frantic search.
The family posted a statement to a GoFundMe page raising money for Rodriguez' funeral. The page has raised over $52,000 since Tuesday.
"Tragedy stuck this past June 11th at Alcyon Lake, when Victor Rodriguez participated in a scavenger hunt that went astray," the statement reads.
The scavenger hunt is not sanctioned by the school or the town, according to Mayor Michael Razze Jr..
Razze told NJ.com the scavenger hunt "has been done by our students for many years" and involves a list put together by students. "Then they accumulate points based on what they do on the list, Razze said.
Classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday at Pittman High School, but graduation ceremonies are being held today as scheduled.
Scavenger hunts are not uncommon at high schools across New Jersey. Most are considered a harmless rite of passage, but others have drawn the attention of community members and even police.
In Fair Lawn, police issued an alert this week that students had better behave. Police say they scavenger hunt is scheduled for the evening of June 17.
Last year, police said, two students were arrested during the annual scavenger hunt which locals say has turned into a night of vandalism and criminal mischief.
A news release from police warned students and parents, "The Fair Lawn Police Department has zero tolerance for any type of criminal activity. Police Officers will be out in force and are prepared to enforce all criminal and motor vehicle law infractions."
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