When a prank goes too far

Senior pranking is an annual tradition in many high schools across the United States. Seniors let loose and try to leave their mark at their school. When seniors cross the line they can end up in some pretty serious trouble as in, suspension, expulsion, and even reports to law enforcement.

According to Fox News, On May 1, at 2:00 a.m. police responded to Teaneck High School in New Jersey where over 60 students were arrested for a not so funny senior prank. Students urinated in the hallways, greased doorknobs with jelly, taped hot dogs to lockers, flipped desks, broke chairs, sprayed graffiti, silly stringed the halls and scattered balloons throughout the school. Twenty-four students who were age 18 or older were charged with burglary and criminal mischief and 38 others, who were juveniles, were released to their parents.

According to 5 NBC Chicago at Conant High School, more than 100 students gathered throughout the hallways cheering loudly and throwing silly string and glitter all over the school. Their senior prank ended with students in custody and students losing end of the year privileges such as graduation and prom. Some parents say the punishment is too harsh, but the school says the students knew the expectations, and reminded them to make wise decisions. But when does a senior prank go too far?

Here at the OHS, while the end of the year is coming soon, expectations are still very high for students. Since Principal Mark Randall has been at the OHS, he says that there really have not been any pranks that he has been aware of.

According to an Owatonna People’s Press archive, in 2006 here at the OHS, seniors stuck hundreds of forks throughout the football field. In 2007 the police reported to the OHS at 3 a.m. in the morning with over 100 seniors sitting in the parking lot, singing and refusing to move their vehicles. Police told them they had to leave and the seniors just sat in the lot not doing anything, even after their vehicles were threatened to be towed. Some of the student’s cars were towed, but no details on the students disciplined. Janitors said the prank could have been a lot worse, but one of the students argued that they just wanted the teachers to see what it was like for them. Other senior prank traditions include seniors gathering in the commons area and throwing shredded paper and confetti, which leaves our OHS janitors here for over two hours of their time to clean it up. One year the confetti got so out of control that it was knee  high.

Also in the Owatonna People’s Press archive, one of the most outrageous pranks in OHS was the prank in 2008. Fourteen students that attended OHS broke in and ripped out carpet tiles and shaped the floor with ’08.’ Flour was then poured in the missing tile areas. Students used window paint and chalk outside of the door, and jammed toothpicks into the door handles. Students also parked an old pickup truck out front. One of those consequences were that students who were caught in the act, could not walk with their class and could not receive their diploma. No criminal charges were involved because police said the situation was complicated and there was no way to tell who was all involved. After the prank that occurred in 2008 Owatonna school district officials sat down with the Police department and the Steele county attorney office that established a senior prank policy. Janitor Brian Orlowski said, “The whole prank was just stupid, they walked right infront of the camera.”

Seniors should be aware that if they choose to be involved with a prank, depending how bad it is, there is a wide range of consequences that can happen. Students could be jeopardizing their ability to finish out their year, and if the prank is bad enough to require a report to law enforcement it could go on their permanent record. Randall said, “Be smart, and make good choices.” If you’re thinking about doing a prank, think again and think of the consequences.