Last year, the class of 2017 pulled off their senior prank in the library by jumping onto tables and shouting until the eventual appearance of Dr. Jamie Chisum. This prank was extremely chaotic and makes me wonder how the class of 2018 will follow up. After all, the library prank proved that sometimes a joke — even a harmless one — can turn into a scary and potentially problematic crisis.
Historically, senior pranks are viewed as a landmark of the high school experience. As students prepare to experience a new-found sense of freedom, they rally together in order to deliver one final brush-off to the teachers who have “oppressed” us over the last four years. While I often get nostalgic (never forgetting to play the songs that I discovered freshman year as we approach graduation), a senior prank has to be funny and playful, but most certainly should never cross the line, such as last year. I am not against the execution of a senior prank, but I think students should remain cautious and avoid any jokes that could have negative implications which could be harmful.
Yet, to tell more than 400 eighteen-year-olds to behave and exercise responsibility during their remaining time in high school can be futile. After all, it is common to encounter students who will turn on their teachers when receiving a B. So to ask that level of respect from seniors, while entirely logical, is not always the most realistic solution.
As I prepare to graduate, there are a few good jokes I can think of that would make a run-of-the-mill senior prank: removing all markers and writing utensils from classrooms, putting a cricket into the school library, or blasting a catchy pop song over the intercom. However, the better ideas, the ones that will solicit the greatest laughs and most Snapchat posts, all have a slightly sinister element to them.
Some students would certainly be entertained by defacing a faculty member’s car, drawing with permanent ink on the Smart Boards, or running up and down the hallways chanting curse words. Yet, those ideas are far more malicious and require a level of disrespect, which, to me, is not worth it.
What if last year’s graduating class had bounced on the tables so hard causing the tables to collapse? That could have resulted in injuries and potential lawsuits from guardians. Not to mention the damage to school property that could find its way to admissions offices.
Another obstacle seniors face is the scrutiny they will have to endure if their senior prank comes off as too harmless or soft. Peer pressure definitely becomes a factor in the planning of a senior prank, but to succumb to the tide of conformity weeks before you will never be a high school student again proves that a lot of seniors have yet to learn true independence from their friends.
For example, in May 2016, high school seniors in Splendora, Texas entered their school after hours and began throwing balloons and streamers throughout the building. After thinking they heard the fire-alarm, the students ran out. The teachers were greeted the following morning with vegetable oil students had poured on the floors and staircases. The students also had a spray bottle of urine and began contaminating all the doorknobs with it. Some of the students even broke into the principal’s office and attempted to steal graduation medals, and also took out the fire extinguishers while setting off the alarms.
This is the stereotypical prank gone wrong, and the students involved faced serious consequences and they were prohibited from walking at graduation. Despite facing backlash from parents, the most important aspect of this episode is realizing that missing convocation because you poured urine, or vegetable oil, or broke into a counselor’s office is humiliating and not worthy of a one-time joke.
Assistant Principal Mr. Marc Bender commented that Wellesley is different in how the administration treats its students. “It’s a two way street. We treat the students like adults and in return they behave like adults.” Wellesley is not a school system that restricts student rights and suffocates them out of distrust. Jumping on tables and chanting because the library is slightly more restrictive than other environments within the school is self-centered and shows a genuine disregard for the adults who dedicate their days to making student life better.
So, should the class of 2018 pull off an awesome senior prank? Of course, but let’s not forget our privileges, our futures, and our ability as a student body to reflect strong morals, all while leaving our mark as the graduating class.