One more lesson to learn

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

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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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Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 05/15/12 - 11:40 pm
2
2
My Gawidah! Two days in a row

My Gawidah! Two days in a row I can agree with the Oracles of Broad Street. You guys sure you didn't outsource this one? :)

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 05/16/12 - 12:16 am
2
3
Five grand is a lot in

Five grand is a lot in damages, but I don't think this should be a felony offense. Obviously they need to make things right, do some community service, but then let them go on with their life. They did something stupid, but they can learn from this and be productive citizens in life. Do not allow them to have felony charges. From my understanding, it takes a couple of previous DUI's to make one finally a felony in Georgia. Drinking and driving is a much worse action.

Jobs are hard enough to find as it is, let us as a community not ruin these woman's lives with a felony on their record of this stupid act.

Dr. Craig Spinks.Georgians for Educational Excellence
106
Points
5
1
KUDOS TO MR. NAGLE for

KUDOS TO MR. NAGLE for his courage in standing up to the tremendous pressures being applied to him by the hordes of "cool," enabling "parents" whose "privileged" offspring are enrolled in our public school system.

Dr. Craig Spinks.Georgians for Educational Excellence
106
Points
5
0
And KUDOS to the ACES for

And KUDOS to the ACES for your stand, too.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/16/12 - 02:35 am
3
1
"Shaving cream on a phone.

"Shaving cream on a phone. Vaseline on a doorknob. Upturned furniture. Soap in a fountain." In this day and age, these would probably get you arrested as well.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 05/16/12 - 07:07 am
3
0
Soap in the fountain. Wrong.

Soap in the fountain. Wrong. The pump will overheat and lock up. Crickets, now that's a prank. But damaging property is vandalism.

Let the school handle the punishment not the courts. And defend Dr. Nagle, not second guess him.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 07:33 am
7
2
I'm all for the rule of law

I'm all for the rule of law but Good golly Miss Molly give kids a break. When they are real little they are psychotic, then move to stupid, then finally when they get through college they are almost human. If kids naturally had sense then we wouldn't have parenting nor need schools. Sure its a dumb idea but my bet most of the school officials, parents, and even AC editors have done similar stoopid things. By todays standards I'd be a felon for pranks (police took us to jail -scared us silly and let us go), I'd be a sexual predator (because I dated 16 year old from my high school my first year in college when I was 18 or 19). I agree they should be punished, pay a fine, but if they end up with a criminal record then shame on you. I agree we should teach our children well but it shouldn't be puntative for life. It's called GRACE. I'm thankful I grew up in a different error when people molded us into maturity and adulthood-and we came out without a criminal record. I can't think of single friend in my home town that wouldn't probably be a felon by todays standards. I guess it was more like Andy Griffith where he used prudence in his judgment. They need to get their priorities straight-you are more worried about property and stuff than the investmetn in our youth (which is our future) and their life.You can't replace them. Freakin idiots!!!!!

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 07:43 am
0
0
Clearly I understand why

Clearly I understand why public schools are failing. But America's colleges are the best in the world. So I have ended up taking your mistakes (failure in public schools) and turn it around to truly educate them in college as an educator. I love to watch failure blossom into success. I think the felons maybe in the public school system (not the students) because what they are doing seems criminal when I receive a student who lacks skills-hee,hee,,hee. What scares me now is colleges are starting to adopt practices common in public schools-what moron would adopt a failed system. They seem more concerned with pedagogy than content.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 09:15 am
0
0
I've done my best to ruffle

I've done my best to ruffle some feathers and nothin'. Takin' my marbles and goin' home. Dr. Spinks almost sounds like an OWS with the issue with the "privileged" of Columbia county. Now if he is saying there is a generational problem with students having an attitude of entitlement, then I agree. I agree too that parents now often don't support the teacher but blindly support their kids-which is just enabling.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 08:16 am
3
0
You misunderstand Soap. I

You misunderstand Soap. I agree they should be punished, they should pay, they are responsible, but they shouldn't have a criminal record unless someone is hurt-not some property. I'm not giving them an excuse just I don't want them to be punished for life with a criminal record-so much for medical school,etc. etc. etc.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 08:35 am
4
0
More Interesting to Observe

It's interesting to observe the outcry from many for punishment far beyond what the crime deserves because the kids come from Lakeside-Greenbrier. There is some kind of reverse discrimination at work here where such things end up in the editorials of the Augusta paper. The theme usually goes something like, "These privileged kids think they can..."

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 09:21 am
2
0
Those privileged kids are why

Those privileged kids are why the Columbia county schools are better. Columbia county has a large educated and intelligent, wealthy population-statistically their kids are intelligent and will go onto college, and likely be wealthy. It's the gene pool not the school most likely. They are smart but that doesn't stop them from doing stupid things. I suggest two years of community service or make them repeat the year-just don't give them a criminal record.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 09:37 am
0
0
Another Aspect to All This

Although Greenbrier does draw from some wealthy neighborhoods, it also draws from a very poor section of the county, unlike Lakeside. It's not a given that all these girls came from wealthy families.

And, yet, another aspect: "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."

I'm sure you could jack up the "damages" with all those pranks and make them seem like crimes. I agree funny pranks are what's needed, not vandalism, but there is often a fine line and sometimes that's in the eye of those who have been pranked.

Little Lamb
46423
Points
Little Lamb 05/16/12 - 09:40 am
1
0
Chill

You posters who go on and on about how terrible a criminal record would be in this case and how it's unfair to charge the women with a felony need to go read the articles in The Columbia County News-Times. Sheriff Whittle has publicly stated that he will proceed however the school system wants, and Supt. Nagle has publicly stated that he will accept misdemeanor pleas. So the felony raps are off the table. Chill out.

anotherlook
90
Points
anotherlook 05/16/12 - 09:43 am
3
0
A teachable moment...

I think that the school responded appropriately. These young women damaged government property and cost taxpayers because of their actions. Yes they or their families will also be paying the cost of this poor choice. In this case, this will stand as a cautionary tale for the lower class men and will establish a well defined set of boundaries that extend far beyond the pages of the little read school code of discipline.

For example when my daughter was in her last year of elementary school, she was involved in a cheating scandal. This was near the end of the school year when it was found out. Many parents were notified and the students were given (IMHO) a slap on the wrist by the school. As for my daughter, her punishment was that she would forfeit the end of the year trip with her peers to an amusement park. The Asst. principal tried to talk us out of it; even reminding us that the money for the prepaid trip would not be refunded. We told her that she should allow someone who could not afford to go to take my daughter's place. it was more important that our daughter learn that you can not cheat your way through life and that there will be serious consequences for those who do: can we all say "Housing Scandal etc." I know it hurt her to see her peers return from the trip laughing about the fun they had. But I know that because of that experience, she won't make the decision to cheat again. It was a hard lesson to learn, but one that will stay with her for life.

Yes, these young women may struggle for a few years, but if they make the right choices in the future, they can have their records expunged. Hopefully the outcome will be that all of the young women will develop into conscientious citizens who respect the law and are an asset to their respective communities and that the rest of the student body will respect their school and think twice before engaging in acts of vandalism.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 10:14 am
1
0
The Unchilled

Most of those supporting an appropriate moderate punishement for the girls understand the charges are likely to be reduced or the First Offender Status utilized. Those not chilled want jail time, public flogging or stoning.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 10:31 am
1
0
Record "expunged" (good luck

Record "expunged" (good luck on that one) is only in an exceptional case-I know for a fact. Thanks little lamb that is my only concern. I am distrubed by Spinks attitude. I appreciate his right to a discriminatory opinion but the problem isn't a socioeconomic one. The problem is generational and not socioeconomic-I see poor parents and poor kids with the same attitude. My only concern is the criminal record which now is no concern so carry on. You help prove my point JohnBrown because the best schools in Columbia county are in the affluent areas while the poorer schools are in the poorer areas-see the correlation. Statistically the poorer kids won't go onto college and the wealthier ones will. A felony charge is a felony charge that will always be on their record but when it is judicated the first offense and all the rest will come into play. If you really believe that the felony offense could be expunged from your record you are naive-even Mother Teresa would still have the bad rap.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 10:31 am
0
1
Proved the Obvious?

Sure, there's no doubt kids from wealthier families are more likely to excel and go to college, etc. It's what makes the Columbia County school system good as it is. But my point that Greenbrier also draws students from some poor areas is also valid.

About this "expunged" records idea, I suppose the school disciplinary actions will always be there. There's no mechanism to get rid of those. But for First Offender Status, they won't have a criminal record.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 10:37 am
1
0
Well I have a "friend" who

Well I have a "friend" who had never even had a driving ticket and made a bad choice such he had a felony charge- and it was his first offense. It was judicated to a fine and probation. But even after 40 years of a perfect record and being a productive citizen he could not get the charge expunged from his record. So is the First Offender status a more recent law.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/12 - 10:39 am
1
0
What Bizkit and JohnBrown

What Bizkit and JohnBrown said, just a perverse lack of perspective here. It has the feel of hatred. Kind of scares me for the jury process. I wish we could know what county a commenter comes from. I would suspect mostly Richmond for the hang em group.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/12 - 10:42 am
1
0
An arrest record NEVER goes

An arrest record NEVER goes away. They will be explaining this on applications for the rest of their lives

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 10:49 am
1
0
Mother Teresa Would Be Cleared for Heaven

O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60 states:
"Except for the registration requirements under the state sexual offender registry and except as otherwise provided in Code Section 42-8- 63.1, the discharge shall completely exonerate the defendant of any criminal purpose and shall not affect any of his or her civil rights or liberties; and the defendant shall not be considered to have a criminal conviction.”

If there were ever a time when the First Offender status should be invoked, it is with these girls.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 05/16/12 - 10:55 am
2
1
They were charged with

They were charged with exactly what they should have been charged with and if this had happened at Josey instead of a CC school the ones who are saying different would be singing a different tune, they would be saying they deserve what they get, which is what I think these girls deserved. They caused thousands of dollars of damage to school property, it doesn't matter if anyone was hurt or not. Next time maybe they will think before doing such a thing but I bet they want.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 11:01 am
0
0
I wouldn't because that is

I wouldn't because that is the reason there are more african-americans in jail that whites. They should be given a chance too. I don't care their background . Hey JohnBrown how bout DUIs. I have a child that early in college had a DUI will that also be removed from their record because it was the first and only offense?

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 11:13 am
0
0
I did a littel investigatin'

I did a little investigatin' and found this :"An expungment does not remove the arrest record; it conceals it from employers and some schools of higher education. Anyone within the law enforcement community can see it, school boards can see it and employers that deal with large sums of money or finance, and some areas of health care. There are way too many variables to list whom all can and cannot see it." It also stated that you can apply for expungement but it can be denied and there is no standard that would necessitate expungement-also certain crimes don't apply apparently.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 11:09 am
0
0
Bizkit, a first offense DUI

Bizkit, a first offense DUI in Georgia is not a felony. I wouldn't worry too much about that on his record.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 11:15 am
0
0
Arrest Records Are Sealed, but..

Okay, we are making progress. There will be no record of a conviction, but because they were not technically convicted if they agree to the terms of the first offense status. As far as the arrest, it can be viewed by law enforcement and those who deal with kids to determine if there was a sexual component.

Here's exactly how I would answer employer inquiries. "I was charged my senior year of high school for putting Super Glue in some school locks. I was not convicted and have no criminal record."

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 11:14 am
0
0
So I guess my friend either

So I guess my friend either had stuff he wasn't admitting too or they just denied it.

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 05/16/12 - 11:16 am
0
0
Thanks JohnBrown very useful

Thanks JohnBrown very useful information-just be honest.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/16/12 - 11:18 am
0
0
Driving Records are Not Criminal Records

Keep in mind, a driving charge is not a criminal act in most cases unless it's multiple DUI's. Your friend only has to worry about his driving record. Ordinarily any tickets of any kind are gone after 6 years.

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