Thursday, May 31, 2007

Unauthorized Fun Will NOT Be Allowed!

First it was the city of Cambridge announcing their ban on (this is not a joke) "romping on mowed, grassy areas" by dogs in public parks.

Now the town of Holliston is threatening to throw the book at some high school seniors who pulled a brilliant and harmless prank to celebrate their upcoming graduation.

According to the MetroWest Daily News, four kids--including the class valedictorian--sneaked into the school and, using a master key, they went into Principal Mary Canty's office, moved her desk and some other belongings into a corridor, which were "left to resemble a crime scene."

In order to sneak in undetected, one of the kids figured out how to disable the school's computerized alarm system. This is described by school administrators as "hacking into the school computers."


The result was a great prank that harmed no one, did no damage, caused no great inconvenience and gave the kids a good laugh and a great memory from high school. What's the big deal?

The school's response is to ban the four students (who idiotically ID'd themselves at from participating in graduation. The valedictorian will not, therefore, be able to give a speech.

This seems a reasonable punishment for the four kids, a punishment they could have avoided if they'd kept their mouths shut until after graduation. But then again, whaddaya expect from a bunch of high school kids?

Unfortunately, the local police chief is involved, too. Holliston's own Barney Fife, Chief Thomas Lambert, has pulled his one bullet from his pocket and he's not afraid to use it.

Acknowledging that the whole incident was a prank, Chief Lambert still insists that these kids need to meet up with Mister John Law:

"I don't apologize. If you do something like this, if you go over the line, that's how we'll deal with it. ... We'll go to court."

What might Chief "Hang 'em High" Lambert charge these kids with? "...misdemeanors of breaking and entering, identity fraud (use of personal identifying information), unauthorized access to a computer system, and a felony of possession of a burglarious tool (the master key)."

That's right: Felony charges. We can't get local cops to help catch illegal immigrants, but we're going to threaten 18-year-old pranksters with five years in prison. Brilliant.

There are bad kids in the world, and their are troublemakers who could use a good smackdown, and it's possible that these kids are in that group. But I don't think so. You judge for yourself by reading a poem one of the "criminals" wrote after being caught:

Now napping and regretting what I've done,
I did not mean to deceive anyone.
To say, 'twas just a prank' is not quite fair,
More effort, thus more pain were plainly there.
While proud I stand to have accomplished such,
The penalties and trust lost are too much.
Woe be to any who would so confess,
'Yes, this is how I stole Ms. Canty's desk!"'

This kid doesn't belong in jail. He belongs in college.