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