By Joe Rector

In the next couple of weeks, high school seniors will graduate and turn their sights on future pursuits. However, before they leave their schools, many will attempt to make a mark by pulling stunts that they think are funny.

A few years ago, dress codes weren’t nearly so lenient. School administrators demanded that students dress in clothing that covered body parts, didn’t have inappropriate slogans or pictures, and fit properly. I even remember the requirements for dress during my high school years. Boys wore slacks, shirts with collars, and socks with shoes. Girls wore dresses, blouses, and skirts.

Seniors decided to challenge the dressing restrictions and came to school in “togas.” In truth, they simply grabbed a bed sheet, pinned it in a couple of places, and walked into the school. The principals chastised the seniors, but they only sent home students, mostly females, who failed to wear enough under the togas to keep them from being indecent. The kids felt they’d succeeded, and the administration prepared for the next year.

Another year, seniors planned a tractor day. They borrowed tractors from family and friends, and a couple of students drove riding lawn mowers to school. The procession snarled traffic around the school and community and brought the ire of drivers trying to deliver children to school or to get to work on time. Seniors thought their stunt was hilarious, at least until the principal announced that they had a time limit to get the machines off campus or otherwise be suspended, an act which would have kept them from taking finals and, thereby, kept them from graduating.

One senior class decided to pull a prank inside the building. They bought several cartons of chocolate milk in the cafeteria. Then the students sneaked down the hall and placed them into lockers in the junior class hall. Before long, a smell wafted through the section, and before long, principals and custodians were searching for the reeking source. After it was discovered, the principal warned all students that another such action would result in immediate suspension from school, but by then, the prank had been pulled and the students had enjoyed a good laugh.

Before long, school administrators were assembling senior classes to discuss the last few weeks of the school year. Along with a schedule for such activities as prom, baccalaureate, and graduation, the principals warned students that any who attempted to pull a class prank would be disciplined and denied the right to participate in graduation exercises.

Such goofy acts aren’t intended to be destructive, nor are students trying to harm anyone. They simply want to “make a mark” before leaving the easy life of high school. Before long, these young people will face real life with adult responsibilities. Farther down the line, these individuals will see just how ridiculous their stunts were.

My friends and I pulled a senior prank during our senior year. Someone had access to a blue toilet, and we retrieved it and took it to the high school. All of us climbed upon the roof of the covered walkway in the front of the school. There we placed the toilet and filled it with rocks. Oh, we couldn’t wait for the next morning to see the reaction of students and staff as they spied that throne atop the walkway.

Our excitement faded when we arrived to find the toilet missing. The custodian had removed the joke, and not a single word was mentioned about it from the principal. Mr. Nicely was savvy enough to know that the best action was none at all.

Seniors are going to try something so that their class is remembered for years to come. I hope these kids have enough sense not to do something that will cause damage or injury. I’d hate to think they had a few minutes of fun that led to their missing such an important event as graduation. At the same time, maybe principals can do the same thing that Mr. Nicely did…NOTHING. That had more impact on us than anything else because we didn’t get the notoriety.

In the end, seniors should enjoy the prom, graduation, family, and friends and leave pranks for others.