One more lesson to learn

Before graduating, teens need extra instruction about ill-conceived 'pranks'

What’s the difference between a prank and a crime? For four Greenbrier High School girls, it’s the difference between a
senior portrait and a mug shot.

The young women caused more than $5,000 in damage last week when they Super-glued 43 exterior locks on campus.

They also managed to cause an extended lockdown, and nearly had all senior privileges revoked for all their classmates, while school officials were applying pressure to find the culprits.

The girls will not be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies Saturday. They won’t be allowed to receive their diplomas at all until they pay back every cent to repair the locks at the school.

But far worse than that, three of the four have been charged with felony second-degree damage to property. The fourth, who allegedly helped plan but not execute the vandalism, was charged with a misdemeanor.

“It will not look good” if the three have felony convictions on their record, Superintendent Charles Nagel said, adding, however, that plea deals can always lower a charge.

This is what happens when you think something is a prank and is actually a felony. This is what happens when you go along with such a knucklehead idea. This is what happens when you don’t think things through.

Shaving cream on a phone. Vaseline on a doorknob. Upturned furniture. Soap in a fountain. These are pranks. They are pranks because they’re harmless. They do no damage to property or injury to others.

When these young ladies make their way into the world – and begin paying for other people’s “pranks” – they will understand the true impact of such actions. With any luck, they’ll learn that lesson even sooner, when they or their families reimburse taxpayers for the damage to Greenbrier.

It’s a lesson that shouldn’t be lost on their peers, either.

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