Pranks: where to draw the line
Congratulations, you made the varsity team! Now you and your parents have to clean up the mess of toilet paper hanging from the trees and all around your house.
“Usually getting TP’ed is annoying and inconvenient, but getting TP’ed for making varsity is a whole different feeling,” said sophomore Katie Chamberlain, who made the varsity soccer team this past fall. “You finally feel like you’re part of the team and it really gives you a good story to tell the next day at practice.”
High school pranks. They’re very familiar to all of us. TP-ing a house, forking a lawn, rubber bands on the sidewalk, ketchup in the driveway, you get the gist.
In many cases, things like this are done purely as a joke, a prank between friends or a tradition for new team members. But where does a prank cross the line from being a harmless joke to being destructive and just plain stupid?
There’s a big difference between going out and TP-ing a new team member’s home with congratulatory signs and throwing a dozen eggs at a house intending (or even not intending) to cause serious damage. This is where the darker side of high school pranks comes in.
Paint on a house or a car can be damaged by the eggs and can cost upwards of several thousand dollars to repair. Stucco or other types of siding on a house can be even more expensive to repair.
“Even though my husband scrubbed and tried to reach it, we have a really tall peak roof and we couldn’t quite reach it,” said English teacher Robyn Westrem, whose stucco was damaged by eggs and was much too expensive to repair. “I stopped looking up there hoping nobody else would look up there either.”
This type of prank causes the issue to escalate to levels you may not have expected and can often involve the police. Shun Tillman, Community Crime Prevention Specialist in Minneapolis, cited the Minnesota criminal statutes dealing with property damage.
If the damage exceeds a thousand dollars, perpetrators can be charged with first-degree criminal damage to property, which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.
Not to mention that pranks are usually done in the early hours of the morning, which can violate the juvenile curfew and possibly increase the penalties.
Some athletic teams at Minnehaha have their parents drive them around for their early morning shenanigans to avoid the curfew issue.
Dean of Students Lance Johnson said, “I just caution kids to not do it at all. You can find other stuff to do.”
We at the Talon Staff are all for fun and are not trying to condemn pranks altogether. We just believe that as high school students, we need to draw the line for ourselves.
Pulling a harmless prank one night might not be that bad, but there’s the risk of it escalating so that next time it’s not just TP-ing, but egging or something more destructive.
One needs to consider their intentions when thinking about pulling a prank, because intentions to harm can lead to more serious consequences.
One also needs to think about the damage that their actions could cause, because even though you may not be intending to harm you could still do some serious damage.
The line needs to be drawn with those principles in mind so that you can step back and think about the consequences before you pull any kind of prank that you might regret.