Officials say end-of-school pranks are not big concern

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As the academic year draws to a close, school officials say they have no plans to increase security to keep high school students on their best behavior.

They're confident, they say, that the threat of criminal prosecution and possibility of having to pay restitution for property damage provide ample deterrents to ill-advised pranks.

Julia Porter Stein, the Richmond County school system director of public safety, said she could recall no problems with senior pranks or vandalism, and schools have resource officers in place.

"We just remind all the officers of the potential of problems, and we just tell them to be more vigilant with what they normally do," she said.

In Columbia County, officials couldn't recall a serious incident since one at Lakeside High a decade ago, when several students were disciplined after they greased door knobs and ruined some of the locks, said Sandra Carraway, the deputy superintendent.

"It turned in to what we would call vandalism, and it was quite expensive to repair," she said.

The students were suspended and had to pay restitution to repair the damages, she said, and school administrators debated whether the students should be allowed to graduate.

"Because of that, senior pranks were really something that went by the wayside," she said. "We already have supervision that's pretty tight because of the challenges we have in our schools."

She also said students are more focused on end-of-course tests and Advanced Placement exams at this time of year.

"Student behavior problems tend to decrease because the end is in sight, and everyone is working hard to have a successful finish," Dr. Carraway said.

Kyle Smith, the North Augusta High School principal, said student pranks have not been a problem for many years.

"Because of the consequences, most of them realize that it's just not worth it," he said.

Mr. Smith said punishments could include barring seniors from participating in graduation, expulsion and arrest.

South Aiken High School Principal Janice Nashatker said pranks have not been an issue in her five years at the school.

However, she said, any graduating seniors who felt "compelled to leave their mark" could have their diplomas withheld until a later date. It would be ill-advised for underclassmen to play a prank, Dr. Nashatker said.

"They have to come back to us," she said. "We'll be waiting."

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or

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Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 05/15/08 - 06:47 am
So consequences for bad

So consequences for bad behaviors are more effective in diminishing the frequency, intensity and duration of such behaviors than are words of counseling subsequent to said behaviors. My maternal grandmother's approach to civilizing youngsters was correct: Actions speak louder than words.

patriciathomas 05/15/08 - 07:20 am
Accountability means actions

Accountability means actions have consequences and when the actions aren't good, the consequences won't be either. The inverse is also true. This magic concept is a wonderful deterrent or encouragement when applied properly and a horrible enabler when applied improperly.

dougmo 05/15/08 - 03:37 pm
As an Augusta area high

As an Augusta area high school graduate (Westside 1984) this article proves that we live in an anal retentive world. I clearly remember letting greased pigs into the school & stealing the BI-LO cow. The next generation of kids are going to be wussies. The only thing that has changed that no fun of any type is allowed in todays society.

BakersfieldCityLimits 05/15/08 - 06:48 pm
Why would Chief Julia

Why would Chief Julia Stein-Porter be concerned? Should any problem arise, she'd just call in RCSO and turn it all over to them. The extra patrols? That would be regular deputies taken off the street to sit in the school for the last week of the school year.

walkedit 05/15/08 - 07:07 pm
As a parent of a student who

As a parent of a student who has just been criminally charged for a prank, I agree--actions speak louder than words. But, do the police need to be involved when no one is injured and no damage done? I would think that out of respect for the parents, a criminal charge would only be involved if there was damage. With the many additional assistants to the principal, you would think the school board could handle some situations and give the parents a chance for discipline. I'm truly involved in a case that is costing each parent a minimum of $750 for attorneys, and on the other end of added wasted expense on the end of the board and manpowers on a matter that happened after hours(which we parents pay in our taxes.)

Mr.Jenkins 05/15/08 - 09:57 pm
This is all hogwash! Why

This is all hogwash! Why can't we discuss valedictorians and what colleges graduates are going to. Not sure what slant this article is intended to be written for but it's all ludicrous. A deterent is pay and withholding diplomas? Let's get a real educational piece.

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