‘Prank’ teaches a valuable lesson

Published 8:31 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Balloons filled with urine thrown into classrooms and hallways. Dead fish strewn around campus. Ketchup and mustard smeared on hallways and in classrooms and carpets. Profanities written on teachers’ doors. Vehicles defaced with spray paint.


We don’t think so.

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But some members of the Charles Henderson Class of 2010 thought so, as they pulled their “senior prank” earlier this year.

And that “prank” landed some 14 or 15 members of the class of 2010 in the alternative learning center, where they are prohibited from participating in school activities, including walking across the stage at graduation.

The punishment meted out for these offenses is fair and follows the student handbook. Even so, parents and students have gone public with their outrage, taking complaints to the media and trying to force the superintendent and even school board members to overturn the principal’s disciplinary decision.

On Tuesday, Dr. Linda Felton-Smith reiterated and reinforced the punishments given these students, as she should have.

The students who took part in this vandalism at the high school broke the law. They could have been charged with any number of crimes, from misdemeanor to felony offenses. And, considering the fact that many involved are 18 years old, they would be charged as adults, meaning the charges likely would remain on their record.

Instead, they are in the ALC, where they are allowed to complete their class work and examinations. They will receive diplomas and graduate on schedule, assuming they complete and pass their assignments. And, while they have to make some financial restitution for the damage they caused, school officials have chosen at this point not to pursue criminal charges.

Yes, not being able to walk with classmates during graduation is a disappointment. But the students who chose to participant in this so-called rite of passage made a choice, and now they have to answer for that choice.

Actions have consequences, and they’re not always pleasant.

That’s a tough lesson to learn, but it may be the most valuable life lesson learned by some members of the Charles Henderson Class of 2010.