Senior Pranks: School Districts Draw Line Between Fun, Vandalism

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, June 8, 2012

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to stash a dead fish somewhere to stink up the school hallways. Time to drop tennis balls on the heads of people in the lobby. Time to cover your soon-to-be alma mater with Post-It notes.

For high school seniors, it's prank time — or "structured mayhem" in the words of Mindy Utay, a therapist who works with teens.

It's a rite of passage as graduation looms, mostly harmless fun but sometimes a escalating into vandalism. This spring alone, windows at school have been smashed, walls and sidewalks spray painted, and paint poured down steps. Cars have been flipped. Property has been damaged from California to Kentucky to Maryland.

As a result, school administrators are rethinking exactly what constitutes a prank and where to draw the line — and finding that's not always easy to do.

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