Of Pranks And Proms

Posted: June 12, 1992

It seemed an open-and-shut case. A half-dozen seniors at Highland Regional High in Blackwood, N.J. are arrested after setting off firecrackers in the middle of the night on their science teacher's front lawn. It was their third such visit of the season - the first two times they had draped the front yard in toilet paper. The science teacher wisely decides not to press charges, and the school suspends the boys for a day and bars them from attending the prom.

Most of us would say they got off easy. But not their parents. They appealed the prom restriction to the school board and won. The prom, they argued, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that the boys shouldn't miss out

because of a prank.

Wrong. The first papering of the yard was a prank. The follow-up visits were harassment. They may be good kids, but they went too far. Barring them

from the prom was the kind of punishment that stung sufficiently, but left no lasting damage.

So shame on the parents for protesting and double shame on the school board for overruling the professionals who run the school. In its own small way the incident shows why public education is in trouble.

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