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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 04/30/2010

It's senior prank season

By Valerie Strauss

Senior pranks are time-honored traditions at many schools, providing almost-graduates with a chance to have some fun after years of toiling in school. A good prank sparks chaos and, hopefully, good cheer, and if nothing else, disrupts class for a little while at the time that most kids can’t wait for summer. Sometimes students go too far, damaging property or causing injury.

Seniors are using Facebook to solicit prank suggestions and attract collaborators. Here’s one of them:

ok so we have to think of something epic for our senior pranks cus the last few years were either horribly stupid or non-existent... some prank ideas:~Mess up the electronics board in the courtyard~Flood a hallway with balloons~Plastic Flamingo Invasion?

Many schools insist that pranks be approved by some adult in the school building, though some rely on the good judgment of the kids. And then there are the occasions when kids are supposed to get permission and just don’t.

At Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio, about half the senior class of 375 students are playing “senior shootout,” a game in which teams of six students fight against one another in five-day rounds with Nerf guns. It isn’t school sanctioned, but that isn’t stopping them.

"There’s no shooting when someone’s on the clock at work, or on school property at any time, or at church," school senior Joe Kon was quoted as saying in the Columbus Dispatch. "And you can’t get shot if you’re naked."

Seniors at private Georgetown Day School in Washington D.C., this week, used rope--a lot of it--to create ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall, spider webs in the main forum where students hang out, making it hard to navigate, and in other parts of the high school.

Earlier this month Clay County, Florida, sheriff’s officers were called to Keystone Heights High School, where cafeteria tables had been moved to block hallways and lockers, and some tables had been set up in the shape of the number 10, which deputies took to be a reference to the class of 2010.

Officers also found two full cans of beer in two soda vending machines, held in place with duct tape, according to the Gainesville Sun.

At Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, N.C., members of the senior class put up a sign in front of the school that offered the school and everything in it--the buildings, staff and students, for sale.

That prank fit in with the school’s guidelines: The tricks must be approved by an adviser and cannot be harmful in any way.

But some kids go too far. Three Pinecrest seniors were charged with vandalism for knocking off some of the letters of the school name at the entrance, so that it read: "IN C EST High School."

“This one isn’t as much fun for us as the other one,” Assistant Principal Herb Hanson was quoted as saying in The Pilot. “The other one was very well done, well executed. This one, not so much.”]

Liberty High Principal Mark Raiff recalled one year when seniors at another school where he worked repainted the parking lot, erasing the blue lines that marked the teachers’ area and turning it into a yellow-lined students’ area.

"But then we had one kid who decided to dump olive oil in the hallway and a bunch of kids got hurt," Raiff was quoted as saying.

Sometimes, adults save kids from themselves. During one prank a dozen years ago at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Bethesda, seniors hired a stripper dressed as a traffic cop to perform at a morning assembly.

Headmaster James M. Cantwell was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that he stopped the performance before the stripper went "too far," but he declined to provide details.

Send me senior pranks that you remember, and that kids are doing this spring, at


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By Valerie Strauss  | April 30, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  High School  | Tags:  graduating seniors, high school, high school and pranks, senior pranks, seniors and pranks  
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The only good prank I ever heard--and it may be an urban legend--was where students released three goats into the school, bearing blankets numbered "1," "2," and "4." The administration wore themselves out looking for number "3"!

Part of the problem is that a lot of schools don't teach kids that the law applies inside the school. If students are subjected to drug sweeps with no warrant or suspicion, if a student reporting theft of money is merely told he shouldn't have brought so much money to school, and if two students having a major fight at a football game are suspended instead of the police being called to decide if one or both should be charged with assault, why should the seniors think that spreading oil and hurting someone is anything to worry about?

Posted by: sideswiththekids | April 30, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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