Student who threw pie at principal arrested

18-year-old charged with third-degree felony

A Palatka High School graduate was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony Friday after attempting to put a pie in the principal’s face during the school’s commencement ceremony.

According to a Putnam County Sheriff’s Office report, 18-year-old Zavier Valencia

approached Principal James “J.T.” Stout with a pie as he was issuing diplomas.

According to the report, Stout blocked the pie from hitting him in the face and was instead hit in the arms with the pie.

“It was one of my favorites, coconut cream pie,” Stout said. “I was disappointed to see it end up on the ground instead of on my plate.”

Stout said he told graduates the celebration had begun with the pie in an attempt to abate the incident. Valencia was handcuffed and escorted off the field, the sheriff’s office report said.

“Zavier said he did not understand why he was being arrested,” the report said. “It was just a senior prank.”

Valencia was charged with battery on a public or private education employee, a third-degree felony, and disturbing the peace during a school, religious or lawful assembly, a misdemeanor.

“It was an unfortunate event for what was otherwise a very nice ceremony,” Stout said.