I have lots of sympathy for high school principals this time of year. You know you’re going to have to deal with some kind of senior prank. The only questions are how bad will it be and how do you react?
Often, it’s easy. Break the law or damage property and there’s no question teens need to be suspended and the cops called. What do you do, though, when the prank is a hassle and kind of disruptive to school but not necessarily bad?
Interim Principal Mary Villano told parents what happened.
Photos included in an email Monday, May 21, showed what was waiting for school staffers when they arrived that Friday. “The entire stairwell from the cafeteria leading up to the main lobby near media center was filled with balloons,” she wrote.
“I later discovered there were 3,300 of them. It was quite a spectacle and started the day off with lots of laughs and excitement. Many of you probably saw pictures that your children took on their phones.
“Our administrative team fully enjoyed the prank as it was done in good taste and did not have any negative impact on the school.
Here’s a photo the school supplied to media:
The principal left the balloons there for an hour so other students could see them and then popped them to clear the corridors and the kids cleaned up.
Contrast that to an Indiana schools superintendent who not happy to see his high school plastered inside with 11,000 Post-its.
That prank led to the firing of a custodian (who thought the kids had permission to enter) and then the suspensions of 57 students who protested the firing.
The suspensions have been lifted but no word yet on the janitor’s fate.
I’m typically a no-fun, law-and-order sort. But it’s hard to argue against the Arlington principal’s approach. A deeper question, though, is: Which group of adults sent the right message to kids about behavior that wasn’t stellar but wasn’t awful?