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Are high school pranks still OK?

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The Sun is running a story Sunday about high school pranks. Every year in May, high school seniors around the country try to cement their legacy and one-up previous classes by pulling off great senior pranks. The pranks can range from relatively minor incidents like releasing crickets in the hall or toilet papering trees to much larger and more serious pranks like disassembling a car and reassembling it inside the school.

Some of these pranks can go too far. A few years ago a St. Charles police officer suffered a fatal heart attack chasing students who were stealing a golf cart as part of a prank. Last week in Lockport several students were transported to the hospital after a soda bottle filled with chemicals exploded, releasing smoke and chemicals into a crowd. In the post-Columbine world, what may have been a joke before is now taken very seriously, with the police getting involved and serious charges leveled.

Do you think senior pranks are just kids being kids, or do they just create a lot of harm? Is the era gone when you could play a joke without legal consequences? Were you, your friends or family members involved in any memorable pranks when in school?

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To Outsider Looking In,

I don't know what clubs you have played on or with, but I have 4 sons that have played traveling soccer over the years with two still playing. The older two play in men's leagues and ref. We have been with several clubs both in Naperville and elsewhere, so I feel I am in a position to speak to your comment.

First of all, none of the clubs we have played with allow that sort of behavior you described. Any coach worth his salt teaches sportsmanship and respect. If a player behaves the way you described, s/he would surely draw a yellow card from an experienced ref. If the behavior happened again, s/he would receive a red card and be ejected from the game.

Second of all, the parents that would allow their child to behave that way in a game are probably the sort of parents who make calls from the sideline and yell at the refs themselves. Children learn from what they see. I have seen many a parent ejected from a game or cause their child's team to be penalized because they could not control themselves. I would be hard-pressed to remember a Naperville team this happened to in my presence.

As for your 'flame away' comment, I am not looking for a fight. I just don't like blatant generalizations and judgemental comments.

To Outsider looking in:

My son's played travel soccer in 3 other states beside here - believe me, what you're describing happens on teams from all socio-economic groups - Naperville hardly has cornered the market on poor sports! I'd suggest going back and continuing to teach your kids right from wrong, and leave the psychology to the experts. I sure hope you haven't shared your "theory" with your kids - if they end up playing soccer with any overly-privileged Napervillians, they'll surely judge their new teammate based on their address rather than as an individual!

In vail az 2 students let the air out on 76 bus. all buses were 2 hours late. elementary students were left at the bus stop waiting. cranes were needed to lift the buses and be ffilled with air. the 2 senior boys turrned themselves in 2 days before graduation.

Are you talking about the student athletes or city employees?

re: Naperville "soccer moms".

Very interesting comment. I live in a neighboring community and have four boys that play travel soccer. Almost universally, the boys that play in the Naperville soccer clubs are viewed as spoiled, pampered primadonas. They yell at the referees when calls do not go their way. They pout and make rude comments to the winning team in the post game line-up. They do not deal well with adversity and will blame a loss on everybody else, the ref or field conditions. They whine about challenging play and expect the refs to 'rescue' them from a dominant opponent. They do not understand the concept of hard work=rewards.

To me this is a reflection of the family dynamic where kids are handed everything instead of working for things, and where "mommy" solves all the kids problems for them. I'm glad to see this problem is recognized by others also.

Of course, I am positive there are Naperville soccer players of the highest character out there somewhere. I am speaking in generalities based on years of broad observation.

Comments are welcome. Flame away.

I'm all for pranks as long as they are not descructive to other people's property. Like the writer said above - you better be able to live up to the consequences if you get caught.

Moderator - can you please start a blog on the "not my kid's fault" attitude that prevails in Naperville? Especially as it relates to soccer moms who "take care" of their kids.

That relates to the "are pranks ok" question directly.

Hmmm...some other examples of Naperville pranks that were not mentioned. Girls out at 0400 toilet papering homes of high school sportys. They are hit by drunk driver and killed. That still makes me pause periodically. Boys are hoisting beer kegs on school flag pole, they fall off pole and paralyzing one. Probably asking kids to moderate their behavior and expecting only harmless pranks is not realistic. We live in a community or maybe a culture where the idea is to outdo the next person to show your superiority. Pranks are fine but you are responsible for the consequences.

I think if it is something that does no damage, is not going to create a safety issue, and does not create a big disturbance during the school day, then it can be ok. Last year, a group of senior girls at WV attached bras to a fence around the football field with a sign that said "Seniors Girls are Busting Out." It was funny, harmless, and was outside on the grounds as opposed to in the building. There was very little that needed to be done to take care of it at the end of the day. My daughter was not involved in the prank, but we saw it as I was dropping her off that morning and both had a good laugh over it.

I think if more people were creative like those girls were, pranks could be a humorous and harmless thing. Unfortunately, if you read the ideas that are sometimes posted in Facebook groups on the subject, some kids are determined to do something that will create a huge disturbance or create damage of some sort.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Magee, moderator published on May 16, 2009 10:30 PM.

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