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The GEM Debate: Cute Prank Or A Crime? Should Students Be Arrested For This?

Photo credit: Ryan Buncher

If you listen closely, you can almost hear it. What is it? That’s the sound of students and their parents rejoicing as another school year comes to a close. My own daughter bounded into the bedroom today, smiling from ear-to-ear as she detailed her finals schedule. She wasn’t happy about finals as much as she was the half-day schedule, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is the end-of the year exuberance is evident.

It appears some students at an upstate New York High School took that feeling a bit too far and are now facing some pretty steep consequences for their actions. They took to the campus overnight, spray-painting walls, dragging equipment out of the storage shed (damaging the athletic field in the process) and breaking a number of items. Damage is estimated at $2500 dollars but could rise significantly. The superintendent says he’s deeply disappointed in those involved and police say arrests are imminent.

You know what I say?


These are 17 and 18-year-old kids, not some wonderful little cherubs posing for pictures in their  Garanimals. These kids turned into thugs in the middle of the night who exhibited wanton and willful disrespect for other people and property.

If I were a taxpayer there I’d be hotter than hot if my dollars had to go toward paying for the overtime required for clean up and you can bet your bottom dollar that I would want officials to figure out a way to keep it from happening again. Period.

The bone of contention among some parents is whether this amounts to killing a fly with a cannon. Are there other ways to punish these kids? They say, there are other ways to punish these kids and that is absolutely true. But do we really think holding their diplomas, making them spend an afternoon scrubbing the walls and pay for the damage they caused will have the same impact as sitting in the backseat of a squad car, being processed through the system and wondering how your evening of fun is going to impact your future? Nope.

It’s lesson-teaching time. No more excuses, no more special dispensation, no more second chances. If these kids understand there are consequences to their actions, you can believe that will cut down on future pranks. But they’ll never learn if mom and dad keep opening up their checkbooks to make problems like this go away.

Okay, time for you to weigh in.. Am I being too much of a hard ass on this?  Is being arrested too harsh or should this be handled another way? Is so, how?

Let me hear ya!

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