Senior pranks should not be taken too far

May 30, 2017 — by Karen Chow

In movies and shows, the infamous senior prank is a core component of the high school experience. Whether it is teepeeing a tree or setting up 1,000 mouse traps, senior pranks are undoubtedly a tradition throughout most high schools across America.

The point of a senior prank is to let seniors have one more day of fun and leave a lasting mark on the school before heading off to college.

Harmless pranks such as bringing pet dogs to school make perfect memories — leaving a literal “mark” is unnecessary. Senior pranks should not lead to permanent damages or injury for other students or staff or school property.

For example, according to the New York Daily News, in 2015 at Sequoyah High School in Tennessee, students “decorated” the hallways with trash, urine, dead animals and baby oil. The prank led to 100 students being banned from graduation, three teacher injuries and the suspension of two police officers who failed to do anything about the troublesome students.

The prank had a negative impact on many people and caused permanent damage to the school, and therefore should not have taken place.

By contrast, an example of when a prank that is more acceptable was last year’s TP-ing of the trees in the quad by a group of seniors.

Although the toilet paper was hard to clean up, this prank was completely acceptable because it did not cause any serious damage — the toilet paper eventually blew away and the school did not have to spend much money on cleaning it up. The seniors could have been more considerate by not pulling a prank during Staff Appreciation Week, but the prank itself did no permanent harm.

Pranks should be something seniors weigh carefully before doing — and seek to do no harm while having fun. At the same time, schools should allow harmless traditions to go on as long as they’re done in the rights spirit and with no damage.  

Sensible, friendly senior pranks such as dressing up or drawing on the ground with chalk or rearranging the chairs and tables in a favorite teacher’s classroom help break the routine and make good memories that will stay with the pranksters and their classmates for a lifetime.