Indiana Teen Pulls Prank in School And Is Charged With Felony

We have been following the trend of criminalization of every aspect of American society from charging or investigating students to parents to teachers. Police in Rushville, Indiana have given us the latest disturbing example. Rushville High school Senior Tyell Morton, 18, simply tried to carry out a prank at his school — and ended up facing a felony charge.

Morton was captured on a school video dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and wearing latex gloves. He carried in a package and then left without it. Clearly, security was correct in taking the matter seriously and investigating. After it investigated, however, it confirmed that the package was just a blow-up dolls that Morton put in the girls’ restroom. That should have led to a reprimand and parent-teacher consultation. Instead, the police charged Morton with felony criminal mischief. School officials insist that the prank cost the school cost them over $8,000 — though it is not clear how. Presumably, the school is citing the costs of the evacuation of the premises.

Morton now faces eight years in prison . . . for a prank. He has never been in trouble with the law.

This is not the first prank charged criminally in our schools. When combined with our continued use of “zero tolerance” policies, the trend threatens to transform our society.

The question is what type of society we are creating when our children have to fear that a prank could lead them to jail for almost a decade. What type of citizens are we creating who fear the arbitrary use of criminal charges by their government?

Source: WGN

Jonathan Turley

41 thoughts on “Indiana Teen Pulls Prank in School And Is Charged With Felony

  1. Over a joke! Of course the biggest joke of all is the school claiming it cost them $8000 and that the expenses to the public in court costs to prosecute this and the immeasurable harm done to the kid is even worse. Fear, the little mind killer.

  2. Much like the so-called sexting cases, the real danger to children in these situations is actually from potentially lifetime consequences of actions taken by a government that claims to protect them.

  3. “What type of citizens are we creating who fear the arbitrary use of criminal charges by their government?”

    IMO society is creating exactly the kind of citizen the government has wanted all along: fearful, obedient and self censoring.

  4. Perhaps, if he were a Supreme Court Justice, he could lie on Federal forms, hide his spouses income and the conflicts of interests he has and nobody would bat an eye.

  5. Abusing ones authority to make life even tougher on kids is alive an well in Canada also. If you go to YouTube and view the vids at issue in the below story/link the videos are pretty much what you would expect from a 12th grader.

    His response to the school board that suspended him for their posting is priceless though; just the right mix of an instinctive appreciation of liberty, self confidence and sarcastic disrespect for mindless repression. This adversity is making him a better artist:

    “Jack Christie, a grade 12 student at Donald A. Wilson Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario, has been indefinitely suspended for posting surreal, crude, humorous videos to YouTube. The videos were shown in his Economics and Politics class, where they were thoroughly enjoyed, but when he posted them to YouTube, the school principal gave him a one-day suspension and ordered him to take the videos off YouTube. He refused, and was given an indefinite suspension. Members of the school’s student government, including Gavin Russell, the student government’s prime minister, took up a petition for Christie’s reinstatement, but were ordered to stop collecting signatures or face punishment.”

  6. HenMan,

    It may have cost the school because they called in the bomb squad. Do bomb squads charge facilities for their services?


    This is a ridiculous charge. What has happened to common sense and good judgment? The police are going to ruin this young man’s life because of a harmless prank.

  7. I guess the cops in Indiana are racist. He looks like a good kid too. And that was a great prank. What the hell are people thinking?

    I guess if you put an M-80 in the school toilet today you will go to prison for the rest of your life for using a weapon of mass destruction instead of doing detention and working around the school to pay for the toilet.

  8. Just another reason to abolish the compulsory (read: by gunpoint) public school prison system backed by the communists (the Democratic Party).

    It is a loathsome institution not fit to be seen in a country that supposedly prides itself on liberty.

    Liberty? What’s that? You might not know what it is because the communist dictators (the Democrats/aka Democratic Party/aka liberals/aka progressives) have not taught about to school children for about 100 years years. Yes, they do run the government school prison facilities.

    So if you have forgotten what liberty is, you can go visit the statue of it in New York harbor and begin your lesson there.

    Or visit Campaign For Liberty online. It is the only place on earth where liberty and the pursuit of it is held in highest. esteem.

  9. “Thus sayeth the King”

    Too much power has been placed in the hands of men and women who lack good judgement. The citizens of this district need to demand a change in administrative personnel and if the School Board refuses, elect new members to the Board.

  10. Thank God I am outta school….Remember when the name plates used to screw on…..the doors or walls, next to the doors….The nice metal name plates…well now…not that I admit or deny anything…..But I am aware of circumstances which some were changed…..

    The Boys Restroom will now be Girls…the Girls Restroom will now be the Principals Office and the Principals office will now be the Boys Restroom….

    It took some time and it was accomplished…

  11. After reading this article all I could think of was Cartman, “YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAY!!”

  12. The 8K just happened to be the amount of the superintendent’s latest boat payment. He’s so worth it.

  13. My comment would have been about Prof. T’s last statement; however, Ms. LottaKatz beat me to it.

  14. FFLEO, Great minds think alike:-) Please comment more often if you can, I enjoy your postings and would like to see more of them. I hope all is well with you.

  15. Hi lottakatz,

    I too enjoy your postings. Sometimes others here beat me to the punch (line) so I do not always post my thoughts. I am doing very well and I trust that you are, as well. I have many other daily tasks to do, although I try to visit this site as often as I can, even if I do not post.

    My granddaughter is doing well. She took her first flight with her parents to see her great grandmother (who is nearing 87 years old) for the first time ever–my Mother is on Cloud Nine.

  16. “… my Mother is on Cloud Nine”

    That’s probably an understatement! I’m glad all is well with you as it is with me also.

    I know what you mean about others reflecting your thoughts before you get to the site. Timing is crucial, I get here many times and think that other visitors not only read my mind (before I even thought of the matter) but stated my thoughts better than I could have.:-)

  17. All school authorities become despots in due course. Our own college principal banned mobile phones from college and he was so zealously implementing it that he took a PSP from a student mistaking it for a mobile; and we all had to explain to him that PSPs don’t have sim cards in it,so stop asking for one.

  18. Someone needs to start a petition for this kid and protest this gestapo type shit.
    I wonder if he were a white football player if he’d be facing the same charges?
    This is totally going too far!!!!!!

  19. Felony charges for that?? What the kid did was stupid but the onus should be on school officials and police to take care of threats BEFORE it happens. That means taking preventative measures as well as active ones.

    If the school had been proactive enough, that kid wouldn’t have been able to slip through the halls unnoticed. You can’t be negligent with security details then blame someone else after making a faulty threat assessment.


  20. Are you kidding me? I’m concerned there just may be some sort of “profiling” going on here. The young man does not have criminal record. It concerns me that the Indiana school board is adopting a communist attitude. I honestly don’t get it. I’m outraged.

  21. Are you serious???!!! I remember when zero tolerance was about to be instituted, and I was hoping parents paid attention (I didn’t have kids then). Our society has lost its ever-loving mind! Killers and rapists are walking the streets, Wallstreet thugs are free, and this kid is facing PRISON and loss of his future over something that did NO ONE any harm??? I agree with “Hostdog” – have him pay the fine and move on… It’s certainly going to cost more than $8,000 to try him and house him in prison, plus this is JUST WRONG. God help him and his family.

  22. Even in Belgium, like me, a lot of people were baffled by this story.
    I first thought I misread and it all happened somewhere in Iran, pakistan or North-Korea.
    Makes you figure.

    The last few years we see a lot of these stories about absurd US justice being covered in Belgian national newspapers. The only reason these stories are being published, along more serious cases, is them being so outrageous.
    In Europe you would probably get a 2 hour detention, and maybe some apologies from the principal for overreacting.

    You can find more news on
    or support Tyell Mortons case on facebook:

  23. This is craziness. That is one of the reason that the and the Free Tyell Morton facebook pages were created. We have been working very diligently to let others know about this abuse of power and the over zealousness of the “Zero Tolerance” policy in some areas. Thank you for writing about this.

  24. “What type of citizens are we creating who fear the arbitrary use of criminal charges by their government?”

    Realistic ones.

    This is simply the American educational system teaching kids the truth about their government.

  25. He is a kid for God Sakes!!!! What a true example of “Abuse of Authority!”
    Is there a petition or something that can be done. If so I would like to be part of it. Someone needs to fight for this young man.

  26. […] Indiana Teen Pulls Prank in School And Is Charged With Felony ( By TheDigitalDad, on July 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm, under Education, Things Kids Do. Tags: felony, prank. No Comments Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Violence in Media LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  27. It should be noted that Tyell Morton was punished not for the prank at all. School security reacted not on the doll, which was discovered only later, but on the fact that he entered the school with the bag, and left without. This is what has caused evacuation, bomb squad, and “losses”, if any. If he placed a bag into his own locker and walked out (with hood etc, for whatever reason), the outcome probably would be the same.

    Then, his charge involves mischief, which is property damage by definition. Again, the cost of the reaction to the event has nothing to do with property damage, when no physical damage to anything has occurred at all.

    Obviously, the officials felt that after the panic that ensued, somebody had to pay the price, so they did their best to come up with any fabrication that came to their mind and to bend the law to suit their feelings. Hopefully the judge will react accordingly.

  28. Well good thing he doesn’t live in Florida. They have a judge there called ‘Sick Rick Howard who gave a 16yr old ten yrs in adult prison for taking a six pack of beer from his neighbors garage. The kid has gone thru hell in prison. I left a post on a site that talks about this judge saying that if the kid got out of jail and put a bullet in the judges head is should be calleed justifyable homicide.

  29. what exactly did he do to cost you 8 thousand dollars?! (greedy assholes you make this country look bad) faced with 8 years in prison? (an clearly innocent kid, with an innocent prank, has to go live 8 years in prison after graduating with actual criminals where he could posibly get killed. people who did this to this kid should not be a part of this country your greedy and down right fuckin dumb.


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