SIKESTON -- An article in Friday's edition of the Sikeston High School Bulldog Barker is causing quite a stir.
The front page article said that construction on the new math and science center at the high school had halted because of budget issues.
Trouble is, the article was an April Fools' Day spoof -- a somewhat annual event for many publications.
The first seven pages of Friday's Bulldog Barker contained a series of humorous articles but it wasn't until pages eight and nine the Barker staff announced that all of the articles were an April Fools' Day "gotcha."
The building article outlined a series of financial concerns that prompted the halt in construction. Though written in a humorous tone, many readers apparently didn't read beyond headlines.
"Please keep in mind that it's exactly what it was -- an April Fools' Day edition," Sikeston R-6 Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller said early Saturday.
"Please do not pay it any attention except in the spirit it was written. The building is on target and under budget."
School board elections in Sikeston are scheduled for Tuesday of this week, and some residents feared the article might impact those elections.
"In the past, the Barker has played an April Fools' joke on the student body when the paper's issue fell around April 1," said Sally Lape, Bulldog Barker adviser. "We never intended for our students or our community to believe that construction on the new math and science center had stopped, that a new cell phone policy had been adopted, that Mr. (Jim) Groner was going to be the star of a reality show, that the Red Peppers and Bums were forming one spirit group or that Mr. (Brad) Blackman was going to become a part of the U.S. Olympic swim team.
"The first seven pages were a part of the April Fools' joke," Lape continued. "We had hoped that the feature spread on pages eight and nine would explain any doubt. While we appreciate the community's interest in our high school newspaper, we regret any misconceptions that may have been construed from the first seven pages of the paper. It was never intended to be taken seriously."
Construction on the math and science center is in fact on schedule and should be completed by January 2007.