Thursday, June 14, 2012

Senior Pranks, the dull and unimaginative.

I wrote last week about the end drawing nigh. By which of course, I meant the end of the school year, not the end of the world. Apparently, however, some High School students interpret the end of the school year as a coming apocalypse and determine that their behavior should be adjusted accordingly. It is as if they are living out the answer to that age old rhetorical question, “What would you do if you knew you only had a few (minutes, hours, days...) left to live?”

The answer to that question for many young people across the country is random acts of vandalism. Spray painting buildings, breaking windows, randomly destroying bathrooms and plumbing fixtures. All of these actions are flippantly cloaked in the definition, “Senior Prank.”

I have read with great interest during the past week what some high school seniors consider a senior prank. I am delighted to inform you that our educational system is a success. For thirteen years youngsters across the nation are herded into classrooms, force-fed information, taught to take tests, and taught to think independently. But, mind you, just think independently; do not act independently. As Eldest recently observed, “You see, High School has tried to make me fit in this 8″ by 8″ box. After a while, my edges were sanded away, everything that people considered “different” was removed, it’s as if a big chunk of me is missing.” (

High schools reward conformity, compliance to norms, and blindly accepting the rules. This, with the exception of rule following, shows in the unimaginative senior pranks making the news. Three local teens were arrested for destroying property in one suburban high school and perhaps the most notable, was the defacing of the School of the Arts with graffiti. In this case almost thirty seniors were arrested for that prank. Even worse, one piece of graffiti was a stick figure. One Facebook friend observed that whoever drew that should not even graduate. This was after all The School for the ARTS.

Entering this horrible state of senior prank affairs are a fine group of seniors from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School, located just south of Albany, NY. These imaginative seniors plastered the inside of their school with 5000 packs of Post-it-notes. ( used different colors to write words such as “Seniors” and (forgive my french) “poop”! These 29 students, including the valedictorian and salutatorian, were let into the school by janitors, who even assisted the students in the prank.

When one of the janitors became nervous and called the students early the next morning, they returned to the school and cleaned it up.

I say KUDOS! to the RCSHS seniors for being both imaginative and responsible with their senior prank. The adults of the school were not happy that their students stepped out of the box, and they therefore suspended the 29 seniors.  Superintendent Elisabeth Smith is quoted as saying, “As adults in this learning community, we are not willing to sacrifice the health and safety of our students...” Yes folks, apparently all you have seen in horror movies is true. Schools are havens of evil beings after 7 p.m. Smith continued to say, “we will not tolerate the the loss of valuable planning or instructional time.” I, for one, am not fooled by that. We all know that the last week or two of school is completely bereft of an instruction or planning. Besides, these young citizens cleaned up the notes themselves, simply at the request of one nervous janitor. Congratulations adults of the learning community for once again crushing the imagination and precociousness of our young men and women.

Of course, the students are left with no recourse to pursue. It is, after all, their last few weeks of school. I wonder, however, what would happen if they boycotted some event the “Adults” in the learning community had planned. Perhaps some event where teachers, administrators, parents gather together to parade their handiwork before a large gathered assembly of other adults. Something so grand that tickets have to be rationed out to insure that the crowd is not too large.  An event where each student is dressed just like the one on either side of him or her. Where, when their name is called, they walk across a stage and receive an empty token of their years in the educational mill, while adults clap for the fine job they have done in chiseling these people to be so successful and being so alike and docile.

What if there were no valedictorian or salutatorian speech? What if 29 of their number were absent? What then?

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