Senior pranking: you’re doing it wrong


With the school year now complete in most schools around the country, news coverage has turned to the sometimes brilliant, sometimes stupid, tradition of senior pranking.

There were the seniors in Santa Barbara who got it right by hiring a real mariachi band to follow their high school principal around.  Apparently this principal had a sense of humor and enjoyed the experience. Various media outlets gave these seniors props for getting senior pranking right.

But then there are times when things get out of hand. A friend of mine, when he graduated from high school years ago, got arrested for breaking into the school (a different school from the one I attended) and letting pigs loose inside. Or at least this was his version of the story.

And in San Ramon on Friday, seniors failed with their prank to jam locks with toothpicks — a stunt that ultimately ended with a student getting injured.

Now, I’ve been out of high school for five years, which doesn’t exactly make me old yet. My editor here at SFBay has been out of school for well over two decades. Still, isn’t it the wrong kind of prank when someone gets physically injured?

Maybe I just don’t understand pranking, but it seems to me it should be fun and avoid damaging property or injuring people. Hiring a mariachi band — that’s a good one, and original too. Or how about toilet-papering the trees around school grounds and baking a cake with a mild dose of laxatives for the principal? Sure, the last part will tick him off, but it won’t hurt anyone.

It makes me think it’s true what they say about the teenage brain not being fully developed. It also makes me wonder how someone gets injured by toothpicks, but unfortunately that information was not in the report.

The other ingredients of Friday’s prank sounded like better ideas: spraying Silly String and water, throwing water balloons and ditching class. Yet the seniors of California High School could have avoided getting into so much trouble by waiting until the moment when everyone rushed out at the end of the day.

As a result of the events, the school reportedly accomplished nothing that day. One of the students tweeted:

That bit, at least, sounds mischievously perfect.

‘Spare the air’ day declared for Sunday

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