Harmless High School Prank That Occurred Completely Off Campus Turned Over To School Police Officer
from the he-who-laughs-last-is-probably-someone-with-more-power dept
Because no form of school-related misbehavior can be allowed to escape law enforcement’s attention these days, a Prior Lake, Minnesota school has turned a recent prank over to its “liaison officer” for investigation.
To be sure, the prank is ill-mannered, tasteless, offensive and sexist — something that will only narrow down the list of suspects to male high school students. (I’ve buried the photo of the prank letter below the fold — sort of NSFWish.)
Some student or students mocked up an official looking letter (using the school district’s logo no less) informing female students (and their parents) that a “mandatory vagina inspection” would need to be completed in order to be eligible to graduate. The letter cites “Minnesota Health Code 69” as the impetus for the impromptu inspection, and requests the removal of any piercings.
It goes on from there, using the same sort of stilted language deployed by many official school announcements, only with many more appearances by the word “vagina.” The whole thing is crass on every level, and there’s no way anyone would believe it originated from a school official.
Despite the fact the school can’t find any evidence it was created on campus, it has still decided to move forward with an investigation.
After the school’s police liaison officer saw a tweet about it on Tuesday, Principal Dave Lund sent out an e-mail to parents explaining that administrators “are aware of this letter, and we are addressing the issue internally.”
[Kristi] Mussman [school district spokeswoman] said the prank was “done in extremely poor taste” and administrators were “disappointed.”
Determining who wrote the letter is a police matter. The liaison officer has “some strong leads,” she said.
All well and good, if you’re the sort of person who believes that no bad joke should go unpunished. Obviously, the lack of on-campus misbehavior ties the district’s hands. This explains its decision to hand it to the liaison officer, who can move freely between these two worlds and use the combined force of school policy and criminal statutes to nail the dastardly perpetrators who amused mostly themselves with this effort.
I’m sure the situation was slightly embarrassing for the school, but it had to be at least as embarrassing for any parent who got their huff on and rang the school, demanding to speak to “Barry McCockiner,” the “director of vaginal corrections.”
If anything, the prank runs afoul of federal law, which states that you’re only allowed to cram unwelcome letters into mailboxes if you’ve paid the proper postage… and allow a uniformed postal employee to do the actual cramming. As horrifying as the phrase “violated federal law” sounds, the most likely outcome would be a small fine on par with paying the postage for the number of letters hand-delivered by the letter’s author(s).
What may be worse is the imaginative reading of other, non-applicable laws performed by the liaison officer, who may be encouraged to make an example of high school boys acting exactly like high school boys. As this investigation continues, the school is attempting to finish the year out on a positive note.
Lund said that with only weeks of school left, staff members and students are trying not to dwell on the prank. “We are moving forward to finish our year strong,” he said. “We have a very good student body … and we are not going to let this prank diminish the positive performance of our students.”
Well, “not dwelling” on the prank would be a whole lot easier if you’d rein in the officer. The last thing you want as summer approaches is a bunch of negative press should this prank result in arrests, prosecution, or even in the best case scenario, the declaration that it violated school policy despite occurring completely off-campus. Your student body will move on more quickly if you actually just let it go. You can’t harm the positive performance of your students, but you still have the power to deliver a ton of self-inflicted wounds.