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TPARick
08-02-2008, 07:29 AM
Below is an article about a few teens who decided to borrow a H/S mascot and hide it until the two high schools played their rival football game.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25966444/

I think most of us have either seen in movies or in person a group borrowing a H/S or College Mascot.

These kids came clean,the statue was returned unharmed and the kids now maybe charged with a Felony.

I would like your opinion via the poll.

jfrenaye
08-02-2008, 07:54 AM
It happens in this area all the time. With the Army-Navy game, it is a rite of passage to pull a prank and it often involves the mascot, Bill ( a live goat), who is often shuttled from one hiding spot to another to elude the Army Rangers.

Local high schools do it as well. It was obviously not malicious and the kids did come clean. I say make them return it without the aid of the pick up truck during high-noon daylight hours.

In high school, we disassembled and reassembled a professors VW Bug on the roof of the science building and would routinely pick up a smaller car and hide it someplace else.

AaronK
08-02-2008, 07:57 AM
It was a prank.

However, I think the kids need the cr@p scared out of them.

Ned
08-02-2008, 08:14 AM
To have felonies on their record, even for a short time, until it is expunged, due to completion of community service is going way too far.

While this was a crime, the kids sure sound like they've "learned their lesson" (I hate that expression, but it fits so well here I've used it.) and this wouldn't be repeated by any of them.

I do think there should be consequences for their actions, and community service sounds about right. In fact, I'd make them provide the community service both at the school from which they took the statue, and the surrounding community area. I'd include in the service working with youths. Maybe they can impart the idea to other teens that what they did is a crime, and society can't and shouldn't tolerate that.

In one of my son's senior year, a group of the students created a scavenger hunt. My son and 14 other of the class of 53 teens refused to participate. Bronze letters on the wall of one of the school's buildings were removed, and a coffee urn was taken from a 7-11 convenience store, among many of the items in the list.

In this case, because the parents offered financial restitution (it took $1000 to put the letters back on the building, and the coffee urn was broken and couldn't be returned, etc.) the police allowed the school to handle it, with the parents. That was a big mistake.

Many of the kids at the center of the hunt were on their best behavior for the remainder of the school year and so, other than a couple of fund raising car washes, and other very minor stuff, it ended up there were no consequences for their actions.

Three of the five kids who ran the hunt and who actually stole items or vandalized property for items got into trouble in college and never made it past the freshman year. One more got booted out do to low grades from drinking by the middle of his sophomore year, and while the fifth graduated, she's never come close to achieving her potential and has gotten into some scrapes as an adult.

I've got to believe that if the school and parents hadn't been allowed to handle it, and the kids' actions hadn't been allowed to be swept under the rug, things might have turned out much better for them in the long run.

Gesualdo
08-02-2008, 10:48 AM
Felony records can keep you from getting into some colleges. They can keep you from getting some financial aid. And they can certainly keep you from getting all kinds of good jobs. Even if it's just temporary, these things have a way of not going away, or of coming back at inopportune times. I think getting felony convictions in this case is probably a little over the top.

And I agree, also, with Ned's assertion that there needs to be consequences for their actions than just "Mom and Dad will take care of it." Some kind of "embarrassing" community service should do the trick.

mercwyn
08-02-2008, 11:02 AM
I think back to when I was in high school and college and the things we did. Every year during football season people were trying to steal a trophy that went back and forth between our biggest rival and ourselves. Or in college going to our rivals town and repainting their school's letter in our school colors. The police weren't called and no one was ever charged with anything.

I grant nothing of any real value you was taken and while repainting a cement letter could and probably would be construed as vandalism now, at that time it was considered college hi-jinks. If either school managed to completely paint the other schools letter, then one of the frats or dorm associations would go repaint it.

I think a felon charge is excessive and I think requiring the 5 to return the bull to the school while school is in session is potentially dangerous and thus not a great idea. I understand that the police took it seriously, after all if it had been an actual theft by someone who was going to melt it down and cash in on the high price of metal then they would need to be very involved. However once it came to light that it was a prank good judgment should have been invoked and some other charges should have been applied. One's that wouldn't result in felony charges appearing on their records.

wrp96
08-02-2008, 11:58 AM
Ned, growing up in Anchorage a couple of high schools had a senior class tradition of doing a "scavenger hunt" that usually involved stealing from local businesses (the seniors of course didn't call it stealing but that was what it was). Unfortunately that practice was stopped after a student was shot and killed by a business owner. The owner had several breakins in previous weeks so had taken to staying at his business over night. When he heard the noise on the roof, he fired his shotgun in the air to warn them off, unfortunately it hit one of the students trying to take the advertising balloon off the roof. So because a bunch of seniors couldn't figure out that their scavenger hunt was stealing, an 18 year old was dead, and a store owner was convicted of negligent manslaughter for trying to prevent being stolen from yet again.

My brother's senior class less than 6 months later didn't learn their lesson and decided to "collect" Christmas decorations to decorate our high school. They caught 40 of them in the act of taking the decorations and then decorating the school. Unfortunately for the seniors, due to what had happened the previous school year, they had no choice about how to charge them because they needed to discourage future stupidity. In the past they would've resorted to community service, but once someone is killed in your area, it's a lot harder to give leniency in the consequences.

I wonder if this case may not be the same thing.

msnovtue
08-04-2008, 08:02 AM
I've kind of got mixed feelings on the felony charges. Yes it was meant as a harmless prank, but a lot of times, the "degree" of a theft charge depends on the value of what was stolen. In this case, the kids stole a statue that cost as much as a small car. ($14,000-$17,000 was the estimated value.) That's really kind of hard to ignore or discount.

If it were in my hands, I would charge them with a top-level misdemeanor, but put them through the whole court/prosecution process, and slap some fairly heavy penalties on them. Not jail time, but extensive community service and perhaps a pretty hefty fine and probation.

I've always kind of been of the opinion that a lot of high school or college pranks have gotten way out of hand, and that there need to be some heavier consequences. But felony charges are really pretty severe, at least in this case.

jjjenny
08-04-2008, 10:00 AM
Our school mascot was a big, heavy lion that was always taken and replaced later on. It was just a prank and they turned themselves in. I voted they do community service, they don't need a felony on their record.

weblet
08-04-2008, 09:12 PM
I've kind of got mixed feelings on the felony charges. Yes it was meant as a harmless prank, but a lot of times, the "degree" of a theft charge depends on the value of what was stolen. In this case, the kids stole a statue that cost as much as a small car. ($14,000-$17,000 was the estimated value.) That's really kind of hard to ignore or discount.
They had no idea it was that expensive. What high school (or college) kid would think to ask "how expensive is your mascot?" It's a mascot.

Of course, they'd have been much better off having TP'd the thing...

msnovtue
08-05-2008, 07:52 AM
They had no idea it was that expensive. What high school (or college) kid would think to ask "how expensive is your mascot?" It's a mascot.

Of course, they'd have been much better off having TP'd the thing...

That may be, but whether or not they knew it is irrelevant in determining the charges according to the local laws. As for "what kid would think that", well... lack of thinking isn't really a valid defense.:p


That said, I'm not disagreeing with you-- I think felony charges are a bit much as well. I think probation & community service is enough of a punishment...

weblet
08-06-2008, 06:51 AM
That may be, but whether or not they knew it is irrelevant in determining the charges according to the local laws. As for "what kid would think that", well... lack of thinking isn't really a valid defense.:p


That said, I'm not disagreeing with you-- I think felony charges are a bit much as well. I think probation & community service is enough of a punishment...
Yeah, I know. Letter of the law, or spirit of the law...