Friday, February 20, 2009

Teenage Pranks Can Have Serious Consequences

There are few among us who were not a participant in at least one silly prank as a teenager. From the wise decision to waste dozens of rolls of toilet paper by throwing them in a neighbor’s tree to using mailboxes as target practice to the time-honored juvenile practice of sticking a silly note on the back of an unsuspecting teenager, teenagers excel at ridiculous antics. We can hope that most of us grow out of this stage and that we are not still egging houses as we drop off our youngest kid at preschool.

Some of the acts in which young men and women are choosing to engage are no longer being viewed as harmless fun by certain robed members of our judicial system. So, if you are a high school student who is considering a prank or two to consume your free time, please pay attention to these real-life examples of the consequences you may face.

Two boys yelled “Fire in the hole,” threw their soda at the same drive-thru employee who had just handed them the beverage, and then wisely broadcast the incident on YouTube. They were charged with battery and were forced to air an apology on the same video sharing network.

A Connecticut teenager decided to bring her pony to high school one day. I guess that’s a spin on the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” story. She was suspended from school for ten days, charged with creating a disturbance, accused of creating the circumstances for a “possible riot,” and told that she would not be allowed to attend her prom.

In my second novel, Finish Line, teenage boys Justin and Keith decide to vandalize the home of an elderly neighbor with whom they had endured some unfriendly exchanges. To pay for the substantial bill of damages, the young men are sent to work at the Prairie Winds Golf Course for the summer. While there, the two learn valuable lessons about hard work, discipline, and the difficult nature of human relationships. There may not be any embarrassing videos or disruptive ponies, but the lessons Justin and Keith learn as a result of their actions are just as relevant and memorable.

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