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The Senior Prank-Keep it Safe and Don't Do This

Updated on February 4, 2013

Think About the Consequences Before Doing Something Stupid

Senior pranks have become as much of a tradition in modern times as the prom, the senior trip and graduation. It is a way for a graduating cohort to leave some kind of legacy and there is a lot of pressure in High Schools to one-up the previous class prank.

Brainstorming the perfect senior prank involves a lot of ideas that are eventually discarded. Generally, this happens when the idea becomes illegal or dangerous. During my career as a teacher I heard some pretty crazy ideas, and I even talked some students out of potentially criminal acts so they could avoid being convicted of a felony right before college.

This article is not going to provide a list of wholesome and fun prank ideas, because those can be found on the web. But it will chronicle a dangerous and inhumane prank that went very wrong as a strong precaution for those who think that a prank such as this would be a good idea.

The Prank

If you have already read the summary of the article, this bad prank turned out to be very dangerous-involving injuries, charges, and becoming a crusade to find a happy ending to a bunch of unlucky chickens.

This particular charter school shared a building with an existing school, occupying the top two floors. Being in the inner city, this school had plenty of security and regular incidents requiring police intervention due to gang activity and resentful students who were repeating grades. Whoever thought of this prank knew exactly what kind of mayhem would ensue in this environment full of teenagers and inexperienced, Teach For America teachers.

First, the smoke bombs were ignited, both in the stairwell and the third floor, where I happened to be teaching. The nasty smell and the smoke fogged up the hallway pretty badly and wafted into the classroom. The we heard a lot of noise coming from the stairs. I told the kids to stay put, but a handful did not listen and ran out to see what was the matter.

When they came back, the situation was explained. "Holy Shit, Miss, there is chickens running around in the stairway and that janitor Julio fell and broke his arm after slipping on all of the baby oil on the stairs!"

Some of the kids clapped. "Wow-he got violated," said one of the girls."I can't believe they really did it!"

"You knew about this?" I shrieked? "You're sophomores! How did you know?"

"Miss, you tight. They been talkin' about this for a while."

Knowing there was no point in redirecting the class, I attempted to lecture them on how such a dangerous prank is illegal and bad for the school community. And then finally the bell rang, and the kids ran into the hallway to talk to their friends and whoop and cheer and go to lunch, where I was relieved not to have lunch duty.

All I could think was how stupid the people involved were to create such an unsafe situation and then have such a big mouth about it and let the whole student body know.

I wandered upstairs during my free period to check out the scene from the administrative point of view. The main office door was closing as I was walked by, and it looked like some of the suspects had been apprehended. I went to the principal's suite, and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a box of chickens sitting under his desk.

A frantic, animal-loving teacher was already on task, trying to call a bunch of places that would be willing to offer the chickens sanctuary and not slaughter them. She was actually given the rest of the day off, and indeed, found a loving home for the chickens.

When the principal came in, we were informed that those responsible had admitted their prank, but refused to name their accomplices. Someone would have had to get the chickens from somewhere, drive them to the school and sneak them in. Shortly thereafter, the police came in and arrested the alleged offenders.

In the end, the kids were charged, their graduations revoked, the chickens were happy, but poor Julio, who had fallen in the stairs and broke his arm, did not return to the school for a couple of years. The administration called an assembly, and all of the students were warned of the consequences of such a dangerous prank, although many of the students still thought it was hilarious. And frankly, part of me wishes I had seen the chickens running around in the stairs. But I kept it to myself.

Friendly Advice

Students should be entitled to their senior prank. But as a rule, it is important to keep it safe, keep it legal, and please do not harm any animals in the process. You will run the risk of getting arrested, someone getting hurt and suing you or the school, and you may not graduate.

So remember, this is not where I give you a list of wholesome but clever prank ideas. This is just a reminder not too go too far and whatever you do, keep it safe!


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