Pencil Prank Leads to Arrest and Criminal Charging of Middle School Student

It is one of the worst pranks played in schools. A friend starts to sit down and a student holds a pencil pointing up on the chair. Millions of kids have either been the culprit or the victim of this prank. However, in Ohio, one such 12-year-old child has been arrested and charged criminally after he played the prank during choir class — leading to the other 12-year-old boy being sent to the hospital.

The middle school student has been charged with assault after the pencil penetrated the left buttocks of his classmate and had to be surgically removed. The boy told police that he did not think the pencil would go through the victim’s clothes. He was arrested, suspended from school for five days and faces a misdemeanor assault charge.

We have been following the criminalization of pranks and misbehavior in our elementary and middle schools. While I am very critical of this trend, I recognize that this is a closer case given the seriousness of the injury. I believe that suspension was entirely warranted and civil liability would also be warranted. However, it seems unlikely that the kid knew that he would cause this level of harm and there remains a question as to whether it is necessary to resort to the criminal justice system.

Source: Smoking Gun

11 thoughts on “Pencil Prank Leads to Arrest and Criminal Charging of Middle School Student”

  1. I don’t see that the adolescent is to young to realize that an assault is an assault. A well brought up child knows by the age of three or earlier that hitting biting are not permitted. That may not always meand that young a child can control themselves, but the concept is there.
    Certainly an adolescent at middle school would be expected to know that stabbing someone with a sharp object is certain to cause some level of injury.

    If this is what it takes to teach the parents to teach their children, then I am all for it. Presumably a juvenile court can determine if the child’s overall behavior needs some extra educating, and can put real pressure on the parents to make the child behave or face serious consequences themselves.

    Teacher’s can’t really do that. It’s not their job, and they have no real powers to deal with out of control students except the police.

  2. This sounds like an NHL Hockey ruling — it’s only high sticking AFTER someone gets hit in the face, and, it’s only a 4 minute major AFTER blood gets spilled.

    In other words, the charges are based upon the outcome rather than the decision that lead to said outcome. Personally I think that stinks, but it’s better than a slap on the wrist for a 4 inch stabbing.

  3. Blouise,
    Thanks for the extra information. It does look like it was a pretty serious injury. I can’t understand how the pencil penetrated the jeans and the skin, unless the victim was sitting down very forcefully at the time. Stupid is as stupid does, as Buddha would say. I think it is an appropriate action by the school in this instance.

  4. This crime took place up the read apiece from me in a small town on the lake, Vermilion.

    “Two kids, while they were in choir class, one went to sit down and the other held a pencil on the chair, and the pencil went through his jeans and into his buttocks,” said Cpl. Dean Mayer, Vermilion Police Detective.

    The pencil went 4 inches into the students buttocks and became stuck.

    “When I got there, he was in the nurse’s office laying on his side with the pencil in his butt cheek,” said Cpl. Mayer.

    Everyone was amazed that the thin pencil did not snap in half under the pressure.

    Especially the prankster, said Cpl. Mayer, “He thought it would be harmless. He thought it’d break and they’d get a good laugh, but that’s not what happened at all.”

    An ambulance took the injured boy to the hospital where doctors removed the pencil during emergency surgery .

    “He was brave. He wasn’t crying or anything,” said Cpl. Mayer.

    The prankster admitted to holding the pencil, but said he did not mean to hurt anyone. Still, there was no erasing the damage he’d done.

    The boy was immediately suspended from school for five days and charged with assault.

    “He will have to go to juvenile court,” said Cpl. Mayer, “This kid’s never been in trouble before and he’ll probably get probation and have to make restitution to the victim’s family.”

    When contacted by Fox 8 News, Principal Heidi Riddle School stated that, “It was an unfortunate situation. It was a bad choice.”

    She also said that she feels bad for both parties involved. “It was just kids goofing around and someone got hurt.”

    The prank occurred on March 18, and the injured boy is already back in class.

    “He had some stitches and he’s really into baseball and he can’t play baseball for a month. That’s killing him more than anything,” said Cpl. Mayer.

    “As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” (WJW-TV)

  5. “Closer case”? Please. A misdemeanor charge is absolutely appropriate in a case like this.

    I don’t know what kind of vicious thugs you grew up with, that you think this is a “prank”. It’s cruel bullying and it’s dangerous.

    Here, let me make you sit on a 10-inch wooden spike. Hahaha. Hilarious. Aren’t I funny?

    Suspension is simply not enough of a punishment for this behavior.

  6. Hello Mr. Turley,

    My husband and I are great fans and miss your conversations with Keith Olbermann.

    I have a son who had a few less than stellar moments when he was in high school several years ago. One day I got a call from the principal who informed me that my son and a girl were caught in the boys locker room, and she was giving him a BJ. In the state of Virginia, oral sex is against the law so both my son and the girl were charged with this most heinous of crimes. The principal was horrified that they had to be charged, but the law was the law and both students were lead out of the school in handcuffs.

    I was in no way proud of the decision my son made that day and agreed that he and the girl should have been punished. But to bring them before a judge and admit what they did in a courtroom full of other people, well, it was way over the top, and I feared for the lasting effect this could have on both my son and the girl. There was even the possibility of their being put on the national sex offenders list, but we fortunately were able to afford a high-powered lawyer who made sure that didn’t happen.

    Immediately after the court hearing, the girl moved away, never to be heard from again, and my son became quite the man on campus with the new nickname “ole blue.” The girl was left with a tattered reputation, and my son was revered by his buddies. Elevating what they had done to a criminal level, did nothing to deter other kids from having oral sex, apparently a common practice these days, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

    Suffice it to say, the courts earned a handsome sum in fines we had to pay for my son’s misdeeds, and his lawyer earned a pretty penny as well. I suspect that is the real intent behind criminalizing kids bad behavior in school. Most times, it’s best left to the school officials and the parents to mete out a punishment. Thank God we don’t live in a corrupt county where the judge takes payoffs for sending kids to prison.

  7. Wesley says, “Suppose the kid a life long injury civil liability will not cover everything.”

    And criminal charges will do nothing to make this plaintiff whole either. Making injured parties whole is not the function of criminal courts. That is solely a function of the civil courts.

  8. Sir: I do think that a criminal charge is appropriate when someone is injured. It is that person did have away to defend himself with this prank.Suppose the kid a life long injury civil liability will not cover everything.

  9. Say what…..I still have a blue mark over my right eye….and finger…the bluing never goes away……No charges filed….sometimes shit happens…

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