On May 1st, sixty two students entered Teaneck High School in New Jersey under the cover of darkness. The school alarm was triggered around 2 AM, and police responded to the scene by 2:30. There, officers found chaos; desks had been overturned, door handles had been greased, classrooms had been vandalized, and urine floated in the hallways. Welcome to the world of senior pranks.
New Jersey police were not amused with this juvenile display, however. They took all sixty-two students into custody immediately. The ten officers who responded had to make several trips to bring all the students into the station. Of those brought in, 38 of the students were minors, and they were released, with dire warnings, to their parents shortly after being arrested. The remaining 24 students, being eighteen years old, are currently still in prison and being charged with burglary, property damage, criminal mischief, and trespassing. All signs point to them being convicted, and they will likely face additional jail time or heavy fines.
The school district in New Jersey is instituting a new policy in light of the prank, to prevent a situation like this, from occurring ever again; the principal of Teaneck High School responded to the situation, stating, “You can imagine how disappointed I am.” Despite the damage, the school opened a few days after the incident as usual, though students reported that the hallways still smelled a little funky, and that there were a few balloons lying around. Damage estimations are still in the early stages, but insurance experts place the cost in the thousands of dollars.
Destructive senior pranks are hardly something new—one particularly horrible prank in the late 90’s involved two seniors erasing thousands of AP scores in a hacking scandal—but they must always be guarded against. The senior prank is meant to create disorder, but never reach a level of destruction. A great deal of the time, a prank is meant to be light hearted and fun, an event to celebrate the end of the year. Nevertheless, any form of vandalism, or other illegal activities, is not good ways to finish a high school career.
With the end of the school term approaching here in the Valley, and a possible senior prank looming in the future for SLVHS this year, it is important to keep in mind stories such as this. Jokes can quickly get out of hand if students don’t exercise restraint. When asked about senior pranks, Shelby McDermott states, “I wouldn’t do anything like that to the school, its just stupid”. Many around school echo her sentiment; however, there is still an organized effort to have a senior prank at SLV.
For those students planning the prank, heed these words: exercise restrain in your endeavors. It might even be a time for change, to make the senior prank a different event. Instead of a destructive prank, perhaps try doing something positive; students could sneak onto school grounds in the dead of night and plant flowers or pick up trash instead of flipping desks or spray-painting. That way, we can carry on the tradition but keep our school pristine.
– Zach Passmore