11 students suspended for banana prank

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66 Responses to “11 students suspended for banana prank”

  1. squirrelgirl says:

    they hell? when we were seniors, one of my friends dressed up in a bunny suit and a dozen or so of us in ninja outfits ran up and pretended to beat the crap out of him in the cafeteria during snack break. The principal was there and he laughed right along with us.

  2. Spoon says:

    oh noes! suspension!!!! the only possible way you can stay home from school without your parents being able to say no… It’s tragic! really!!

    Heaven will take note that kids weren’t allowed to disrupt the teaching process in whichever way they could think of!!! Students weren’t given higher marks for decreasing the time teachers have to educate students in a day, the US sucks!!! I’m pretty sure we’re a little bit closer to the apocalypses because of this! Students should surely graduate early for dressing up in costumes and running about the halls!!!

    Seriously though Mark, you’re not serious are you? Do you really believe that since they where close to graduating the rules should go out the window? perhaps we just move all limitations back a bit. I can see it now “you only killed three people by not stopping at that red light, but it was only red for five seconds, so that’s a gimme!”, “Well, you nuked Iran, eight times, but you’re really close to ending your term as presidency Mr. Bush, so it’s all good, just don’t do it again before you’re out of office.”

  3. squirrelgirl says:

    as you can probably tell i meant to start that post with “the hell?” not “they hell”

  4. Wingo says:

    Who are all these Stuffypants McBuzzkills that think that this is so horrible and disruptive, deserving of suspension?

    People need to lighten up. High School shouldn’t be so serious – creativity should be rewarded.

    When I was a senior, my friends and I took a day off to work on building the sets/costumes for the ‘Air Band’ competition. We were going to do ‘Call me Al’ by Paul Simon. It was a BIG deal to us. We were the ‘returning champions’. Not only were we all over 18 and officially able to write our own ‘sick’ notes, we all had notes from our parents, just in case. On top of that, we were all graduating with honors, and had all been already accepted to major universities.

    The asshole VP somehow figured out we were all absent the same day, and knew we were friends (there were about 8 of us), so they sent an actual truant officer after us, which at the time I didn’t even know still existed. My friend’s mom was with us at the house we were at, and said it was OK, but he still dragged us back to school.

    We got kicked out of the air band competition and suspended. Their reasoning was that they had to set an example – they couldn’t condone missing out on precious learning time to work on extra-curricular activities, even though we were all already going to graduate, even if we didn’t show up for the rest of the year. (The massive irony, of course, being that we ended up missing MORE precious learning time than just that one day.)

    Obviously, I have no love for high school administrators. Yes, I am still bitter, more than 15 years later.

    But to the kid in the first post who’s so concerned about his ‘squeaky-clean’ record, I say BAH!! You have no idea how little that means in the long run. Just keep your grades up, do OK on your SATs and you’ll be fine. You’re ‘permanent record’ ENDS after high school, and doesn’t mean shit in the adult world. Seriously. Don’t let them fool you. And ‘walking’ at graduation isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s actually kind of boring. That’s a silly scare tactic, and often a bluff. Have a little fun.

  5. ekppp says:

    One says:

    “We think this is a just punishment. We broke rules we shouldn’t have broken.”

    I say: what is wrong with youth today, that they are not willing to decry injustice at the hands of the man to the very skies?

  6. JG says:

    Just another reason for kids to distrust authority, schools and teachers.

    A penny of over reaction buys a pound of resentment.

    There is a big difference between the ‘letter of the law’ and the ‘spirit of the law’, if you can not discern that difference you shouldn’t be in charge.

    ###

  7. airship says:

    When I was in high school, we had a substitute English teacher once who told us that a quiz would be graded. Our regular teacher had told us in advance that it wouldn’t be, and I told her so. Since she insisted, I threatened to burn mine in protest (even though I was a straight-A student in English and wasn’t worried about my grade – it was all about the principle). Anyway, before I could think about it another student handed me a lighter and… oh yes, I did! It got gasps from the girls and laughs from the guys, but it scared the crap out of our poor substitute. I got a 3-day suspension and a couple of weeks of detention, as well I should. What I did was dangerous.

    But I only got three days for an act that could have burnt down the school. These guys got five days for dressing in costumes. And our vice principal was renowned for being a hard-ass!

    Doesn’t seem equitable to me.

  8. jimh says:

    Spoon? Seriously? Hyperbole much?

    Uh, senior pranks are fairly common, and this seems like a pretty harmless one. There was a greased pig set loose in my school’s library one spring. (Yes, it was the Midwest.) It didn’t kill anyone at a red light, nuke Iran, or even *surprise* get anyone suspended.

  9. Beren says:

    The Man has no sense of humour.

  10. Takuan says:

    people become administrators because they: hate kids, love money, have contempt for their colleagues and fear parents.

  11. KingOfCats says:

    I find the result of this prank pathetic. These students should have received a standard-issue bitching-at and some token slave labor.

    Even worse is the reaction of one of the students:

    “We think this is a just punishment,” said Brendon Epker, one of the students who dressed as bananas. “We broke rules we shouldn’t have broken.”

  12. sum.zero says:

    there is no spoon.

  13. Rick. says:

    Whoever suspended these kids was a complete drag when he was in high school and he’s a complete drag now.

  14. Stacyj says:

    “Harmless and delightful” are indeed the right words for such a prank … as one of those sad, sad folks who, in high school, lived in FAR too much fear of terrible words like “Suspension” and “B+” I hope somebody points out to those kids that the fun they had was worth it, and that the memory will no doubt last far longer than any effects of some pitiful and unnecessary suspension. We NEED more banana pranksters in this country, by god!

  15. Spoon says:

    #11 posted by jimh

    All the time, but I don’t see any reason why seniors should be held to a lower standard then freshmen, perhaps when all the kids are disrupting class by dressing in gorilla suits to get a couple of laughs and nothing ‘bad’ happens to them you’ll wonder why your kids don’t know how to add or subtract.

  16. Unanimous Cowherd says:

    Zion sounds like quite a trip — though whoever wrote saying the town is shaped like a wagon-wheel was pretty off. It’s got a big “roundabout” I suppose, and some streets named after Bibilical locations, but that’s not very unusual. Sounds pretty midwestern to me.
    Checked the website of the school and discovered that being from Illinois, their senator is none other than Barack Obama. OK. Now I’m trying to wrap my head around what exactly the demographics are like in this part of Illinois.

  17. jimh says:

    Another thing is that an overreaction by school officials very often cause parents to follow suit.

    So, I’d lay odds that Brendon Epker expected a stern lecture/slap on the wrist but when he came home with a 7-day suspension he got his driving privileges revoked/put on lockdown/beaten with a belt and so now is not about to push his luck in the press.

  18. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Takuan, some school administrators are good people. I’ve met ‘em. But when school administrators get together, there sure are a lot of unmatched front ends of horses wandering around loose.

  19. Spoon says:

    @#16 posted by Stacyj

    You’re right, we do need more banana suits, but we also need fewer kids thinking “but what’s the harm?!” after the fact, and fewer parents suing the school because their kids where suspended for disrupting classes.

    Back in my day (not so long ago) we disrupted class and did foolish crap that we wouldn’t do today, but we also took our lumps reasonably. No one complained when they where suspended for getting into fights, and no one blogged about the unfairness of of the world when half the class was given given detention for chanting ‘AV, AV, AV, AV’ in an obviously derogatory manner at the end of a shoddily done (and mandatory) production of Alice in wonderland.

  20. Jardine says:

    This took place in Zion, IL. Would that make it a Zionist conspiracy?

  21. Tenn says:

    @17 Spoon,
    Level I Disciplinary Offenses

    8. Running, making excessive noise, obstructing, or other disruptions in halls, buildings,
    classrooms, or other supervised settings.

    Level I Disciplinary Options

    The classroom teacher may use one or more of the following consequences:
    1. Warning.
    2. Teacher/student or administrator/student conference.
    3. Parent conference or call.
    4. In-class disciplinary actions or assignment.
    5. Withdrawal of student privileges.
    6. Detention.
    7. Counselor / student conference.
    8. Confiscation of nuisance items or materials.
    9. Supervised campus service assignment.

    None of those beget a 7 day offense. Sure, multiple refractions of the Level I offense result in a Level II offense. I see no evidence that this was multiple.

    My school’s documentation.
    This is why we have Codes of Conduct and Disciplinary Management Plans. Because overzealous idiots like this make idiotic choices without guidance. I’m sure this school’s is similar, but I couldn’t find their policies.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This happens way to much now a days… Somebody should create a site specifically for reporting and monitoring of these situations etc.. Raise some public awareness and pressure on the specific school board.. Stuff like this would not only go away pretty fast but principals \ teachers would actually think (hopefully twice) before suspending students..

  23. hokano says:

    “What’s funnier than a gorilla chasing bananas through a school? Nothing,” said Andrew Leinonen, the prank’s mastermind and the student who dressed as a gorilla.

    For that quote alone, they should get a booking on Letterman.

    FREE THE ZION ELEVEN!!

  24. subversionary says:

    If my son wanted to do this- I’d insist that he do such during a break- like snack bar. Otherwise? I’d help the kids with their props!

    I say this having completed grad school on full scholarship, and having raised my 5th grader son, thus far, to be doing great in school- academically and behaviorally.

    I value education, and some order must be maintained such that we can all get one. But, whimsy’s a life necessity :)

  25. asev says:

    This is ridiculous.

    School may be for learning, but at this point, the year is almost over. Seniors already know where they’re going if their going somewhere. AP tests will be over soon if they’re not already. High school is such a joke and if administrators can’t take a joke, they have a problem.

    As for setting a bad example for freshman, there’s a reason why they’re called senior pranks. They’re generally done towards the end of senior year and if freshman pull crap, they’re probably punks who would’ve done it even if seniors didn’t do a prank.

    Having a sense of humor, creativity, and motivation to do a project outside the mindless drone-work of high school is a good thing. Think of the MIT pranks. The people who pull them are awesome.

    (Prank: Set 3 pigs loose in a school and number them 1, 2, and 4. Except don’t, because then you might not graduate.)

  26. Jim Dandy says:

    7 days is a bit much, perhaps. But school is for learning, not for pranks. Seniors or not, if they have time to do this they need more homework (unless they’re already straight-A students, which is unlikely just by their rarity).

    FYI the town of Zion (Wiki link) was originally established by a strict Christian sect that believed the Earth was flat. They’re mostly gone now, but the atmosphere probably lingers a bit, explaining the suspension.

    If I were the principal, I would have given them gold stars and a letter-grade boost in the class of their choice.

    That’s why you’d make a lousy principal. Stick with the blogging and whatever else you do.

  27. Jerril says:

    I don’t agree that the students should have got away scot free or rewarded. Some kind of response is definitely necessary – most highschools forbid running in the hallways, no matter what your state of dress at the time, and I can’t imagine running in a banana suit is any easier to do than jeans and a t-shirt.

    And you know what? Disrupting the classes? Inconsiderate, stupid, pointless.

    So yeah, doing it during class hours, in the hallways, instead of doing it at lunch, in the calf? Wworthy of detentions for a couple of days, or possibly a one day suspension (depending on what the schools code states and how big the disruption was).

    But 5-7 days of suspension is downright ridiculous.

    Yes, it was gottdam hillarious and just as another student I’d give them gold stars. I’m sure the teachers would make a big public show of disapproving, while meanwhile making encouraging remarks behind their hands, too.

    Graduation pranks are fine, but so is giving the kids a little bit of trouble for it afterward. If you let grad pranks go unpunished, they WILL continue to escalate. The students were doing this with the expectation of getting caught and getting in shit. If they don’t, they’ll keep pushing the boundaries to see when they DO get in shit. It’s teenaged nature.

  28. Rickmccl says:

    I’m seriously thinking BB an “If I were the Principal…” counter.

  29. xobmai says:

    @24 Agree with the lousy principal bit. Whether the punishment is excessive or not, there doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason why these kids should get a higher mark in, for example, math than the other kids in the class who pull their pranks on the weekends.

    As for the “gold star” – isn’t a suspension just about as close as it gets?

  30. Unanimous Cowherd says:

    This Zion City stuff is really amazing — check out this from their own Zion Historical Society site. Here’s a brief summary: Founded in 1901 as a planned city by John Dowie, a Scottish-born immigrant by way of Australia and New Zealand (!), Zion City never really became the “shining city on a hill” that Dowie planned. A faith-healer, Dowie had set up shop around Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair, where he attained fame and followers. He bought land and set up Zion City to be god-centered in every way. Financial problems set in soon — does this sound familiar — and Dowie convinced his followers to sign 1100 year leases to the land rather than purchasing plots. Cuz Jebus was coming within 100 years and then what with the millenium after that, who’d need stinkin’ leases then? Right?
    Dowie also had ideas about profit-sharing that would sound downright communistic if they were suggested by anyone but a god-fearing zealot and solid citizen like Comrade Dowie. Er, Brother Dowie. Moving on.
    Eventually it all lead to financial woes, serious dissension, a power of attorney, a stay in Jamaica for “recuperation”, jah manh, a court fight, and later a physical stand-off between factions of the town over the dying stroke-victim, our own faith-healer, John Dowie. RIP.
    And so stands Zion City today, proud and strong, Christian to the end.

  31. roninkakuhito says:

    -Jim Dandy-
    But school is for learning, not for pranks.
    I would stipulate that pranks are a significant part of learning, that getting up and doing something somewhat bizarre in a somewhat socially inappropriate time and place is as important as any 10 minutes of class you will ever have at any level of education. (Working on the assumption that at the higher levels you can make that ten minutes up by yourself.) The more I think about it, the more it seems that doing one harmless but strange thing that pushes you well outside of your daily behavior envelope should be a prerequisite for graduation. (Hell, learning to watch a distraction and then get back to the task at hand is also a valuable skill.) (There also needs to be a process via which a kid can opt out.) This is off the top of my head, and it would definitely need some serious fine tuning and some rules work to be viable for a public school.

    I do think that raising the kids’ grade in a random class is a poor choice in this case. There is encouragement and there is unearned benefits, and I really think that a boost in grade unrelated to the subject of the class is in the second category.

  32. Registrado says:

    Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring bananaphone…

    You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re suspended (says clueless brick of an Authority Figure).

    “Grace!” cries A. Figure.

    (This never ends well for Mr. A. Figure. Sorry. By-Bye.)

    /Rooney eats it!

  33. Patrick H says:

    Come on, it’d be no fun if it was consequence free! Worse still, imagine a world of school mandated pranks and zaniness – “Marcel’s pranks lack enthusiasm, and she is insufficiently zany compared with her peers. F”

    Patrick H

  34. Anonymous says:

    well i know this is a little late and everything but my name is brendon epker and i was one of the bananas in our awesome prank. i dont regret doing it at all and it was totally worth it. its given me a story to tell and it was a lot of fun.

  35. Ari B. says:

    When I was a senior 11 years ago, over the course of one day we:

    -Broke into the school building overnight and barricaded the library with a fake brick wall inscribed with the phrase “a gift from the class of 1997.”

    -Filled the dean’s office with helium balloons. Emptying it out was the most fun he’d had in months.

    -Rearranged a classroom vertically. (We actually took it down before class began. The teacher who used that room was 7-8 months pregnant at the time, and we didn’t want her to get hurt.)

    -Replaced all of the trophies in the school trophy cases with stuffed animals.

    -Skipped first period and hosted a waffle and pancake breakfast for students and faculty.

    and nothing happened!

    Four years ago, my brother was a senior. To protest a change in the school’s detention policy, he and his friends staged a sit-in in the cafeteria. Before class (during breakfast), they sat in front of the office, sang 60s protest songs and read from “On Civil Disobedience.”

    *they* got a 24-hour suspension.

    As my mom put it, “they misbehaved, so the school rewarded them with a day off.”

  36. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    I was kidding about the higher grade — as if!

  37. omnifrog says:

    I went to a Quaker high school and we pranked the last religious service. We threw about 10 beach balls onto the crowd from the balcony. We were outdone by the 10 guys that streaked the meeting for worship.

    No one got suspended and I still have a beach ball somewhere that was signed by the headmaster.

    Apparently nothing we could do was as bad (or as funny) as the time a student greased up the train tracks that used to go across campus, causing the train to miss the nearby stop. And even then, the kid was allowed to graduate.

    What the hell is wrong with the humorless asses that run modern schools?

  38. GoodnightJulia says:

    I agree with jimh @ #18 — the student who called the 7-day suspension “a just punishment” was probably too afraid of further punishment to say anything else.

    Speaking as someone who was terribly intimidated by authority figures when I was in high school, I understand where he’s coming from. But I also dearly wish I could go back and stand up for myself.

    Spoon @ #17: I disagree with the implication that not punishing a silly prank as sternly as possible is going to snowball into rampant disorder and no one learning math properly. Mostly I just think of that line from The Breakfast Club, how did it go… “Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up? If he gets up, we’ll all get up, it’ll be anarchy!” (Thanks, Wikiquote.)

  39. otob says:

    Interestingly, Zion-Benton Township High School has a history of over-the-top pranks by its senior class.

    Much of the reaction to the prank is probably lingering not from the Utopian ideals of the founding church, but from press 4 or 5 years ago on MTV documenting one of their pranks.

    To get an idea of what the town was like in olden days, see: Zion City: Twentieth Century Utopia by Phillip Cook.

    Zion was a dry town until a few years ago. It is built in a wheel / spoke design, where the Church was the hub. Oh, and all the North/South streets have biblical names.

    But it is hardly a utopia, as you can see if you examine crime stats for the region. And despite what some of the above commenters inferred from above, it is not really that strict of a place to be anymore.

  40. omnifrog says:

    I live in San Francisco and any day that a gorilla isn’t running down the street chasing a bunch of bananas is a lame day. Zombie mobs, thousand person pillow fights, pirate paddle boating, and naked people in the streets are relatively normal occurrences out here.

    These kids should graduate and move somewhere more fun.

  41. Jamblichus says:

    Man, San Fran sounds a lot more fun than Seoul.
    Though Seoul has protestors who are willing to turn flame throwers on the police as well as attack them with their own power hose (Youtube it. You know you want to). Being a peace loving soul however, a 1000 person pillow fight sounds more fun.

  42. littlemissinformation says:

    Seven days suspension seems far too severe for such a harmless, whimsical prank. Times sure have changed for the worse.

    My senior year, we staged a homecoming prank. We bought about 50 helium balloons, made a huge sign saying “Thornridge Sucks” (our rivals) and floated it up behind their side of the field so that our side could read it as it floated above their side of the stands. Not the most clever prank and a bit crude, but effective. It got a huge cheer, and we got a week of detentions, which seems to me to be much more fair than seven days of suspension they got.

    We’d probably be charged with some sort of terrorism today.

  43. assumetehposition says:

    Am I to understand there is no difference between “banana-clad” and “dressed as bananas”? I had this great mental image…

  44. Antinous says:

    The pranksters will go on to start an online pranking firm, make lots of money and enjoy their lives. The principal will up his anti-depressant and anxiolytic doses every year until he plows his car into a tree at 58. The universe sorts itself out. Why does anyone think that a prank automatically merits punishment? If you do, maybe it’s time to calculate your dosage increases for this year.

  45. omnifrog says:

    Jamblichus,

    This is actually a really weird city. Even the protests tend to be funny, such as slightly modifing advertisements to make them say something political. Over the weekend I saw a guy spray paint a political message on the street; blocking a police car while he was doing it. And the officer in the car didn’t seem to care.

    One of our biggest events in SF is coming up next month. Bay to Breakers is nominally a race across the city, but it is actually a giant 7 mile long party. Half the houses along the race route blast music and most of the “runners” wear costumes or run naked or just walk the length of the course drinking beer.

    During Christmas, it’s not uncommon to see a band of crazy Santas causing general mayhem.

    We have our own order of nuns, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who are really men in drag. They actually raise money for charity.

    In the 4 years I’ve lived here, I’ve come home covered in fake blood more times than I can count. (Zombies, slasher films turned into plays, etc.)

    And we give good protest out here too :)

    Come visit sometime.

  46. NovySan says:

    Mr. Scott Murphy
    Principal, Principals Office

    MurphyS@zbths.org

    Mr. Brian Valerugo
    Dean, Seniors, Freshman A – G, Deans Office

    ValerugB@zbths.org

    Be respectful.

  47. catbeller says:

    You need a touch of madness, just enough that you don’t become stupid! –Robin Williams

  48. Moon says:

    It’s ZION, Illinois. Super-religious people who believe fun is the reading the bible.

  49. echolocate chocolate says:

    You gotta have punishments for pranks because that’s what makes doing pranks exciting and awesome. Suspension is nuts… but think about the notoriety they’ll get for it now!

  50. Bookyloo says:

    one year the senior prank at my (boarding) school was the “kidnapping” of the headmaster’s twelve year old son, with the kid’s gleeful help and consent. They spirited him into a dorm room, gave him pizza, and hid him in a closet when adults came by. I think he even stayed in the dorm overnight before giving up the ruse. He was in my graduating class, and considered his “kidnapping” to be, hands down, the awesomest weekend of his whole life. His parents had no clue where he was for 24 hours. They were pissed, but no one even got a detention.

    Try that now and you’d go to prison.

  51. bencurthoys says:

    Floyd Ferris: “You honest men are such a problem and such a headache. But we knew you’d slip sooner or later . . . [and break one of our regulations] . . . this is just what we wanted.”

    Rearden: “You seem to be pleased about it.”

    Ferris: “Don’t I have good reason to be?”

    Rearden: “But, after all, I did break one of your laws.”

    Ferris: “Well, what do you think they’re there for?”

    Ferris: “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against . . . We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.

  52. Och aye the GNU says:

    There is nothing on the internet, however trivial that someone somewhere can’t turn into an excuse for an Atlas Shrugged quote.

  53. sassafra says:

    when i was a kid in the ’70′s we used to prank all the time.
    once i even cleared out the entire cafeteria of a catholic high school with about 8 drops of reagent grade ammonium sulfide solution i swiped from the chem lab where i volunteered to help “clean up” after labs. i laughed myself silly after the stampede wth the gym coach yelling “i’ll kill whoever put the fart juice in here”
    nowadays i’d be arrested as a terrorist and charged with a felony.
    heck,….i wasn’t a bad kid either, and didn’t turn into a terrorist or a serial killer or anything like it.
    lots of kids pranked.
    ever wonder why kids are so pissed today? they’re so constrained and reined in and bottled up they simmer and cook until they blow their tops.
    school admins shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.

  54. otob says:

    #43: The original Zion proper was built around the central church, with diagonal streets and cross streets branching off. The town has grown quite a bit since then, but if you were to look at the original property map, you’d see the shape.

    And not “some” but all of the original north/south streets are names from the Bible.

  55. thekevinmonster says:

    I think that there should be some punishment for a prank. Suspension? At the end of school? Meh. That’s pushing it. Detention? Sure. Disruptive social pranks are something that should be discouraged, but not HEAVILY.

    On the other hand, if it was a serious prank like when kids poured baby oil down the hallway and stairs of my high school (this happened before I was there, so maybe it was a myth!), I would say that there should be consequences beyond the school’s own discipline. In that case, someone was injured.

    Banana suits and gorillas? Oh come on. It was probably more fun and exciting and rallying than an official ‘pep rally’ was!

  56. DiscipleN2k says:

    Is this really news? “Seniors pull goofy stunt, get slap on the wrist as punishment.” It’s not the end of the world. Had I managed to concoct this plan in High School, I would have realized that this stunt would get me in trouble, taken a few seconds to determine whether the stunt would be worth the inevitable punishment, and proceeded to put on my monkey suit and go to town! 7 days suspension for laughs like that? Absolutely worth it!

  57. Kieran O'Neill says:

    My last day of my final year of high school, we didn’t do all that much, though one thing was to write on each others’ shirts.

    A few days later, just at the start of finals, the headmaster addressed us all, and gave us a half-hour grilling about defacing the school uniform, and threatening not to provide letters of reference for any of us (not that *that* mattered to me – I was going to university, and all they cared about was our marks). This was about the last thing he *could* do to us, since barring us from writing the final exams would probably have been illegal. I’m pretty sure he would have if he could’ve.

    (This is a school which subsequently was actively investigating ways to circumvent legislation banning corporal punishment in schools.)

    Of course, this doesn’t beat the year a bunch of people came to school on the last day with undercuts, and were dragged into a room and shaved almost bald. (Well, a few ducked out and ran home. My hair was a little long at the time – slightly over my ears – and I was ready to bolt. Fortunately they didn’t come for me.)

    Then there was the year when the final year pupils really ran rampant on their last day. I hid out on the sports fields and watched from a distance, but my younger brother recounted how his class locked themselves in the classroom and defended themselves with wooden planks.

    And these are fairly mild stories as far as middle class, South African all-boys schools go.

    Probably the most important skill that I acquired from the high school experience was the art of surviving under a totalitarian regime while remaining subversive and anti-authoritarian. “Yes sir, no sir, I’m completely committed to the school/nation/company/insert social entity here sir.” (with complete sincerity)

  58. Robotech_Master says:

    This puts me in mind of an editorial I read in one of my hometown (Cassville, Missouri)’s local papers, where at the graduation ceremony a couple of kids doing a musical performance as part of the ceremony launched into a totally unannounced encore rendition of “Come Sail Away” at the end of their planned performance.

    They were suspended and not allowed to graduate with the rest of the class.

  59. sdquinn says:

    Coming from a high school sophomore who has been detained by the police only once for having fun (wheelchair racing through the local supermarket), take this with a grain of salt.

    What they did was wrong. They phoned in sick and concealed their identities. They also disrupted the classroom and school environment, similar to a fight (conveniently called a “campus disruption” in politically correct terms) or a pulled fire alarm.

    Now, senior pranks will exist until the end of time. I plan on doing one, but am honestly deterred by the punishment on not walking at graduation or going to prom. I don’t want a basically squeaky clean record tainted by one day of fun. Maybe that’ll change.

  60. Antinous says:

    You can’t imagine what went on in my mind between reading the headline and reading the body of the post. Well, not so much ‘can’t’ as ‘don’t want to’.

  61. Rob Cockerham says:

    Oh! I’ve got a photo of this! well, not this event, but a similar gorilla vs. banana photo.

    Actually it is Patrick Wilkins’ photo.

    http://www.cockeyed.com/incredible/jenga/jenga21.jpg

  62. volvicy says:

    ok i know this is an old thread…. HOWEVER, i went to this school for high school, and everything you are saying, the religion, the principle with no humour(who was at the time my junior high pric. but the guy that ran zbths we called hitler… i mean the guy looked like him and acted like him) the people, the racism, its horrible the school was built with no walls… literally, they had to put the walls in later after no one could learn anything, or more like the teachers couldn’t control the students. so its not mapped out well.not to mention it looks like a prision… hardly any windows… ive known a few pranks that happened when i was there… first it was the chickens and a goat in the courtyard, they climbed over the building at night and stuck them in there..(the school used to be in cornfield land) then my junior year my cousin got suspended for putting for sale signs outside the school during homecoming weekend(an old tradition that has died) there was like 50 kids there that night and my friend was there tping the around the bleachers in the football field, well all of the hired hall monitors or security enforcers decided to wait and see if they did anything so they bust out of the school pool entrence and chase my friend… he ran .. they threw a mag flashlight and hit his head… he was suspended .. i wanted him to sue…on a serious note my last year starting around nov till early spring someone … i think probablly more than one person was pulling the fire alarms…. one week i beleive it was pulled 8 times. the fire fighters started charging…everytime they came out $500 to the school… taxpayers.. what have you..anyway i have about 30 horrible memories from this school..sexual harrasment from football players while the teacher and the whole class watched and they did nothing.. to having to deal with morning lunch and afterschool prayer circles and bible study… they let a church use the grounds for years.. im an aethist and have been for a long time… stack on hormones and loathing and you got yourself a kid that could understand school shootings.. not that its right…

    volvicy~x killer bee

  63. Takuan says:

    gnintepilllssleepppy

  64. Lone says:

    “…he put a banana in your tail pipe?! And what kind of sandwich did you have?”

    Between the state of our school systems and the act itself, this didn’t trouble a soul. Except those living in fear of gorilla and banana clad terrorists.

  65. Hans says:

    As a former high school teacher it certainly seems to me that punishment is suspect, at least if the news report is the whole story. What possible purpose could the punishment have, other than to suck all the fun out of school? Gold stars for the students indeed, and I am writing the principal’s name on the board. (I’d send him to the front office, but who would he talk to?)

  66. Daemon says:

    Oh my god no. They disrupted class. In a highschool. It’s not like anything important was going on anyways.

    And they’ve really go to get over the idea that a suspension is a punishment.

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