A prank on some blindfolded Rosemount High School athletes -- they were unknowingly and at times amorously kissed by their parents during a recent pep fest -- is collecting YouTube views by the tens of thousands and has the principal apologizing for what happened.

Here's how the practical joke, originated by school staff members, played out during the assembly on Dec. 8:

The captains of the school's winter sports teams -- boys and girls -- were lined up and blindfolded. They were told they would be kissed and then asked to guess who was on the other side of their lips.

Some of the parents during the 59-second YouTube video are seen holding the kisses for several seconds, cupping their child's faces or embracing and swaying.

One mother moved her son's hand down to her behind during the encounter. Another mom has her son down on the gym floor to the delight of two male students nearby.

The hoots, screams and laughter rolled on as the students pulled off their blindfolds to realize it was Mom or Dad they were smooching.

School District spokesman Tony Taschner said on Thursday that the same prank was pulled several years ago at Rosemount High, but the kisses were more like pecks on the cheek.

Principal John Wollersheim said he received e-mails and phone calls soon after the pep fest from people who said they were offended by the display. This week, he said, the feedback he's received has been more supportive.

"There is no question that people were offended," Wollersheim said. "I apologize to those who were offended, and we won't do it again."

Wollersheim emphasized that "anything that happens at this school is the principal's responsibility. I take full responsibility. ... There shouldn't be an event in a school that we offend people with."

The principal pointed out that the video covered only about a minute of the half-hour pep fest and added that none of the students or parents involved in the kissing have complained to him.

Watch the video at www.startribune.com/a888.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482