We have been following the trend toward using criminal penalties to handle pranks and simple misconduct by students in our schools. Now, three high school students in New Jersey are facing criminal charges for a simple senior prank of releasing chickens at the school. They may also be barred from graduation. It is part of the criminalization of our society where we are turning our children into little felons because school officials blindly call police at every little infraction.
Anthony Cesareo, 17, and Tyler Bruno, 17, pushed the chickens through a window at Woodbridge High School in the middle of the night. They chickens were found by a janitor the next day. No harm and perhaps a little fowl.
Technically, the third student — 18-year-old Bryan Pater — could receive $1,000 fine and six months in prison. While I doubt a judge would impose such a sentence, the question is why we continue to use the criminal justice system to deal with matters that were once the subject of simple teacher-parent conferences.