Staff Editorial: Finding the Line Between Practical Jokes and Dangerous Pranks


The classroom during the smoke bomb incident on Friday, May 17.

Raider Review Staff

In light of the recent pranks that took place last Friday, we ask the ERHS community to draw a line between humorous practical jokes and the dangerous pranks on Friday that put many students and staff members in unsafe conditions.

A smoke bomb was detonated in classroom Friday afternoon. Students and faculty were evacuated at 1:15 pm and spent almost two hours in the sweltering afternoon heat. First responders were called, and though the administration realized quickly that it was a student prank, legally we could not go back into the building until authorities had cleared it completely. This happened around 3 p.m.

This was only one of many pranks that took place that day. Prior to the smoke bomb, students spread baby oil over the floors and in the stairwells between classes. In the girl’s bathrooms, in addition to the oil, some toilets were covered in plastic wrap. Though the custodial staff cleaned up quickly, it would be impossible to anticipate where students may have put down oil next. This danger was only exacerbated by the smoke bomb, as students attempting to evacuate the school ran the risk of slipping and injuring themselves in the chaos.

It’s safe to say that these pranks went too far.

Students released a smoke bomb in the middle of a classroom with expensive technology and ran the risk of damaging thousands of dollars in school property, as well as traumatizing other students within the classroom. This went too far. Students in AP testing were forced to evacuate the building, and take a different version of the test again. This went too far. Students dependent on school lunches, who may not have the opportunity to eat at home, had to pick up lunch in a bag on the way out of school if they missed their lunch periods. This went too far. Staff members had to scramble to submit grade change documentation for seniors after missing the deadline to publish while evacuated. This went too far.

A responsible prank aims to confuse, but not to destroy. A proper dose of chaos may be exciting, but hefty consequences require careful consideration. Senior pranks understandably have a controversial history at ERHS, but they nevertheless represent an integral part of class spirit.

Annual pranks should involve more open lines of communication before implementation. There needs to be discussion and the approval for an appropriate prank from at least one administrator, and as students, we need to think carefully about how a prank might jeopardize the safety of others.

We can still have practical jokes that are fun and chaotic, but the consequences can’t outweigh the benefits. Seniors can still have fun, but we have to consider what could happen if a prank goes too far.