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Pranks: It's no joke when school property is damaged

Published June 09. 2014 05:01PM

Graduating seniors from Simon Kenton High School in Independence, Ky., recently posted a tongue-in-cheek ad on Craigslist that was creative and quite funny.

In order to pay for college expenses, the graduates put their school up for sale in the housing, office and commercial section of the classified advertising website. The students' ad, which was quickly pulled, stated: "Going off to college, so i dont (sic) need it anymore, need to save up my cash to pay off all these loans coming up."

The big selling points included "persistent cigarette smoke smell in freshman boys bathroom" and an "excellent" football field. The sale price of $2,014 included trucks, "laptops that never work," and "textbooks (not many, not in very good condition)."

Martha Setters, the school principal, told the press she knew it was meant as a prank and that no offers are being entertained to sell the school, stressing that the school is still focused on instruction.

Although most end-of-school year pranks are harmless, some students do cross the line and must answer to the law. At Teaneck High School in New Jersey, 63 students – about 18 percent of the senior class – were arrested on charges of burglary and criminal mischief and suspended for several days.

The students entered the school after hours and turned over desks, urinated in the hallways, sprayed silly string and did other acts of vandalism. Police were alerted by a burglar alarm that went off inside the school.

In other recent cases:

• Six students in the Chartiers Valley School District in western Pennsylvania had to be disciplined for releasing hundreds of crickets as a senior prank. Some of it was caught on school surveillance cameras.

• Vandalism charges were being considered after about 20 students at a Tennessee high school were involved in a food fight that damaged ceiling tiles and requires significant cleaning.

• At Baraboo High School in Wisconsin, about 50 students entered the school at night to take part in mischief, including lining staircases with water-filled Styrofoam cups, ziplocking lockers, and strategically placing balloons and glitter. Several pranks were described as "minor acts of vandalism."

Senior pranks may be a tradition in high schools across the country but students should think twice about the long-term consequences and how it could affect their record. Also, when school property is being damaged and parents and taxpayers are paying for it, it certainly can't qualify as a "harmless" plank.

By Jim Zbick

editor@tnonline.com

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