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  1. #1
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    Senior prank gone wrong

    CLOCK PRANK

    MONTROSE, N.Y. (AP) - An apparent senior prank has led to felony charges against 16 New York high school students. Police say the group taped ticking alarm clocks to the walls of their school. They've been charged with a fake-bomb felony. Authorities say the students sneaked in on a Sunday night and fixed 20 clocks to the hallway walls with duct tape. But the students set off motion-sensing alarms in the school, bringing police and eventually bomb-sniffing dogs to the school. No explosives were found.


    Taking the article for face value, that these weren't simulated bombs, is it really necessary to give a kid a felony for this type prank? What was the prankster’s intent?
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    rob84's Avatar
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    Wow, that sucks!. Im guessing they just wanted to scare some people. Its not unusual for senior pranks to go above and beyond what's expected. I don't think they should get a felony for it, maybe a trespassing charge or something?

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    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Yeah, but they should have been more smart about it. After all these school shootings, it's a terrible idea to put "fake bombs" inside a school as a prank. It's totally in bad taste...
    Calm Like A Bomb...

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    phantasm is offline Corporal
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    I didn't see anything about "fake bombs. They duct taped clocks to the walls. Clocks tick. Thats what they do.

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    Cidp24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantasm View Post
    I didn't see anything about "fake bombs. They duct taped clocks to the walls. Clocks tick. Thats what they do.
    That's the point I'm making. The article does not indicate that the clocks taped to the wall looked in any way like bombs. If the student's intent was not to make something appear to be a bomb, the felony charge is not right in this case.
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    The kids stole a key to the school sometime last year. As a senior prank most of the students chiped in money to buy alarm clocks. A few then went in and hid the clocks throughout the school - all set to go off at the same time to disrupt their last school day.

    Here's a picture of the clocks. The clocks may have appeared to be bombs at the time, taking into account that the police found them after responding to a break-in at around midnight. After learning what the prank was I doubt the students imagined anyone would actually think it was a bomb. Criminal Trespass seems like a more appropriate charge IMO.


    http://wcbstv.com/local/local_story_163155548.html

    http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...706140376/1018

    Hen Hud student: Alarm clocks intended as playful prank, not fake bombs

    By NICOLE NEROULIAS
    THE JOURNAL NEWS

    (Original publication: June 14, 2007)
    MONTROSE - They wanted to participate in a fun, creative senior prank. They never intended to end up with police dogs searching their school, 19 students arrested on felony charges and dozens more slapped with community service requirements.

    But that's what happened after the students who planted alarm clocks throughout Hendrick Hudson High School triggered the Albany Post Road building's security system Sunday night. When state troopers and a custodian arrived about 11:40 p.m., they saw the clocks and immediately backed out. Returning with bomb-sniffing dogs, authorities realized the devices were harmless, and school opened on schedule Monday.

    The clocks had been set to go off at 9:15 a.m., to playfully disrupt the last day of classes; they weren't disguised or intended to come across as threatening, said student Liz Eswein. She said the school was requiring her to complete five hours of community service for donating $1 toward the prank.

    "They weren't meant to look like bombs whatsoever," she said yesterday. "They just looked like clocks."

    But school officials, police and some community members said the teenagers should have known better in light of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the recent Virginia Tech shooting and the continuing threat of terrorism.

    Throughout the Lower Hudson Valley in the past few months, several schools and public buildings have been locked down or evacuated at the slightest hint of a planned attack. A prank involving simulated crime scenes painted on the Haldane High School campus in Cold Spring last week caused a two-hour delay, and three students were charged with trespass, a violation.

    The 19 Hendrick Hudson students who police said helped plant the clocks Sunday night - one 16-year-old, four 17-year-olds and 14 18-year-olds - are charged with second-degree placing a false bomb, a felony. They are due in Cortlandt Town Court on Monday. If convicted, each faces up to four years in state prison.

    Hendrick Hudson's class of 2007 has 215 students; at least a quarter have admitted to participating in the prank in some capacity. District officials have decided that the 19 accused students will not be allowed to walk at the June 22 commencement ceremony and that those who donated money or bought the clocks must complete five to 10 hours of community service to be allowed to walk.

    "They will have to earn back that privilege," said Tito Davila, school spokesman. "We're still working on how or what (kind of community service) specifically."

    Eswein's mother, Sarah Phillips of Croton-on-Hudson, said she agreed with punishing students who broke into the building but disagreed with punishing those, like her daughter, who only gave money toward the prank.

    "What if I contributed money to a political campaign and the politician got arrested for political behavior. Does that mean, according to you, that I should also be punished?" she asked, rhetorically.

    She also argued that the building locks should have been changed when a set of keys went missing a year ago. She said she was outraged that the security system allowed enough time for students to plant all the clocks and leave campus before authorities showed up.

    "It's wrong for them to have broken into the school, but I'm very upset that the administration admitted that the keys were lost a year ago and didn't change the locks," she said. "To me, that's unconscionable."

    Davila declined to comment on the issue of the lost keys.

    "The relevant issue is that the school was broken into," he said. "We have to stay focused on what happened here."

    Most of the students who donated money had thought the clocks would be hidden during school hours, Eswein said.

    "I personally don't feel I did anything wrong," the 18-year-old said.

    Phillips said her two older children who also attended the high school confirmed to her that senior pranks are a well-known tradition on the last day of classes. The idea of playing a prank had been discussed openly on campus for weeks without any warning from teachers or administrators, Phillips said.

    "They fostered an atmosphere by their nonaction that a school prank was acceptable," Phillips said. "The principal claimed that they didn't know a prank was going to take place at year end. How could they not know, if this is a tradition?"

    Previous senior pranks at Hendrick Hudson have ranged from the costly, such as gluing school door locks together, to the relatively innocuous, such as sleeping on the school's lawn.

    "It's usually tame stuff, writing stuff in shaving cream on the football field," said Investigator Matt Manza of the state police.

    Eswein said she and her classmates haven't been told what their community service will be, but it probably will involve cleaning up the building. As a matter of principle, she said, the students still are not sure whether they want to agree to the administration's conditions.

    "Our grade is very close-knit; we all support each other," she said. "We're torn because we don't want to walk if everyone can't walk. It's just sad."
    § 240.61 Placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree.

    A person is guilty of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree when he or she places, or causes to be placed, any device or object that by its design, construction, content or characteristics appears to be or to contain, a bomb, destructive device, explosive or hazardous substance, but is, in fact, an inoperative facsimile or imitation of such a bomb, destructive device, explosive or hazardous substance and which he or she knows, intends or reasonably believes will appear to be a bomb, destructive device, explosive or hazardous substance under circumstances in which it is likely to cause public alarm or inconvenience.

    Placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree is a class E felony.
    § 140.10 Criminal trespass in the third degree.

    A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon real property (a) which is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders...

    Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor.
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