Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No Good Prank Goes Unpunished

It may not happen in every school, but the senior prank is almost as much a part of high school as pep rallies and bad cafeteria food. I was quite amused to read over the weekend of this prank, which took place in Hilliard, Ohio...but less than thrilled to find out the outcome for its instigator:
A high school student who tricked football fans from a crosstown rival school into holding up squares of construction paper at a stadium that together spelled out, "We Suck,'' was suspended for the prank, students said.

Kyle Garchar, a senior at Hilliard Davidson High School in suburban Columbus, said he spent about 20 hours over three days plotting the trick, which was captured on video and posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Garchar said he was inspired by a similar prank pulled by Yale students in 2004, when Harvard fans were duped into holding up cards with the same message.

At the end of the video, Garchar wryly thanks the 800 parents, staff and alumni from Hillard Darby High School who raised the cards at the start of the third quarter during last Friday's game played at Crew Stadium, home of Columbus' Major League Soccer team.

"It couldn't have been done without you,'' reads the closing frame of the video, which had been viewed more than 4,400 times by Thursday.
That's right--he was suspended, as well as banned from participating in school activities for the rest of the semester. Can someone say overreaction?

After all, he certainly did a bit of "schoolwork" in preparation for the prank:
Garchar, 17, first went to Crew Stadium to take a picture of the seats. Then he created a grid to plan how the message would be spelled out once fans in three sections held up either a black or white piece of construction paper.

Directions left on stadium seats instructed fans to check that the number listed on their papers matched their seat numbers. Darby supporters were told the message would read "Go Darby.''

"It was tedious,'' Garchar said. "I didn't really think it was going to work.''

But it did, and everyone at Hilliard Davidson has been talking about the trick, said Jordan Moore, a junior.

"That was the ultimate in-your-face,'' he said. "I think it was ingenious.''
I totally agree. It would be one thing if people or property had been harmed by the prank (except maybe the opposition's self-esteem), but it really was just good, clean, clever fun. In my mind, the principal totally overreacted here. You don't have to exhibit control every minute of your life; just sit back, have a good laugh, and enjoy something that was harmless and truly funny.

Read the whole thing, including the comments, where one of the locals notes that Kyle received a standing ovation when he walked into the cafeteria the other day. Contact information is also given for the principal, in case anyone wants to send him a "hey, lighten up!" type of message. And enjoy the video here.

(Hat tip: Dave Barry's Blog, where most of the commenters agree that the principal needs to chill. Commenter ArcticAl has the best response:
Personnaly I think the kid should get extra credit for math (geometry, matrices of numbers), drafting (maping out the grid), communications/english (written instructions for the participants), visual art (it is a picture after all - modern art) and civic duties (increasing school spirit, leadership, taking chances, managing risk, dedication, and all around hard work). Some educators have their blinkers on too tight.

The kid will probably have the last laugh when he creates the next Microsoft, e Bay or Yahoo and comes to the school reunion in 10 years in a chauffeur driven Mercedes and parks in the Principal's spot.
My sentiments exactly. And need I say that I know one good way for administrators to possibly cultivate a sense of humor again? Bring 'em back into the real world again.

Speaking of overreaction: A father in Cape Coral, Florida got tired of his son scaring his sisters with a frog, so he called the police on the boy.

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