High School Student Facing Potential Felony Charge For Yearbook Prank

SchoolClassroomI have previously written about my concern with the criminalization of conduct in America, particularly at our schools. A case in Columbia, Missouri again raises this issue with a 17-year-old Hickman High School junior facing possible felony charges for a prank. The student changed the last name of Raigan Mastain to “Masturbate” and more than 700 yearbooks went to press with the change. Now a prosecutor is considering a charge of first-degree property damage and harassment — a felony prosecution for an immature prank.

Recently we have seen other pranks charged as crimes in high school. The question is why these cases (which used to be handled as a disciplinary matter for the school) had to be handed over to the police and prosecutors. There are heavy penalties that can be meted out like barring the student from graduation.

To her credit, Mastain is saying that she believes this was just immaturity rather than malice. She seems to be showing more sense and restraint than some adults in the matter.

The yearbook was issued with stickers correcting the spelling.

Source: CBS

22 thoughts on “High School Student Facing Potential Felony Charge For Yearbook Prank”

  1. I didn’t participate in the yearbook-making class in high school, but how did this make it past the editor? I mean.. I don’t expect law review-esque editing, but surely at least 2-3 sets of eyes verify that everyone’s name is spelled correctly, etc., prior to sending it to press? You telling me this 17 y/o is the EIC?

  2. “facing possible felony charges” ??

    The jokester has not been charged, nor has anyone said he or she would be charged.

    But, beyond that, the possibility of an accusation of a crime does not necessarily mean: (1) the perpetrator will face formal charges, or (2) be found guilty of a “first class felony,” or (3) even if found guilty, be sent to jail as punishment.

    Many felons (especially if this is a first-timer) get probation or, perhaps community service.

    I think this joker could benefit from doing a bit of community service.

    I don’t care if the victim is appearing to brush off this humiliation; victims in high school frequently pretend not to care for fear he or she will be treated to even more humiliation.

    This particular victim will have to deal for a lifetime with questions from a spouse or children about what brought on this “joke.”

    I don’t think this is funny. I do think the person who did this needs to learn a lesson about the wages of doing something that is more hurtful than funny.

  3. According to the school, the cost of reprinting the 720 yearbooks would be $41,000 which does not include the cost of destroying the defaced books so the yearbook staff spent 12 hours putting stickers on the page with the name change and seeking out books that had already been distributed.

    “For Mastain (the victim of the prank), the biggest frustration in the situation was that everyone was focused on the name change instead of the yearbook, which she said she and other staff members put countless hours into. … The yearbook’s theme this year was iconic photos, and students put much time into researching who owned the photos to get rights to them and finding props and trying to re-create the photos, Acopolis said. The cover, for example, features a re-creation of the “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo featuring Hickman students. Mastain said she spent many hours working on the photo.”

    Some prank.

  4. Banksters walk but pranksters go to jail. Where are our priorities?

  5. Sling has the right answer, make him buy the yearbooks and cut them up into pcs using hedge trimmers, the old fashioned kind. And make sure he earns the money himself from an actual job and make sure the job is hard and dirty with little pay. Digging ditches, dish washing, tire monkey, brick carrier for a mason, etc.

    That should take the desire to do that again out of him.

  6. These criminal charges have no merit whatever. If a harassment charge was in order for making fun of someone’s name every person able to speak or write would eventually be guilty of doing this

    As for the malicious mischief charge I do not see this because if the person was on the editorial or staff to create the book it would be civil in nature in that he had a right to put content into the book.

    The only remedy I can see would be a civil action to seek the offender be required to compensate for the correction.

  7. I agree that a reprint and burning of the first run is appropriate and that the student make restitution, especially since the injured party seems to be dealing with it.

  8. National Lampoon’s yearbook back in the 70’s was a classic. Anyone remember the “Mad Crapper?”

  9. “The yearbook was issued with stickers correcting the spelling.” ? ?

    That’s a solution?

    Are these school administrators nuts?

    The 700 yearbooks should never have been accepted, and the joker should have had to work off the cost of the reprinting.

    This joker should learn the lesson, now, that actions have consequences.

  10. The concept that “jail solves every problem” has gained currency via authoritarian personality types. It also is an easy way out for School Administrators that don’t want to have to decide tough questions. Certainly the charge for reprinting should be borne by the boy and his parents, but a felony charge is nonsensical and far to severe a punishment for the “crime”.

  11. I’m with SlingTrebuchet, if you mess up then you FIX IT! This kid would be paying for a reprint….and ALL the copies would be destroyed that he did this to.

    No need for a felony…as long as he comes up with the dough to fix what he messed up…

  12. This one is more than a mere prank.
    It isn’t forgotten next day/week.
    It would last forever and follow the person misnamed in everyones’ yearbook. The ‘prank’ that never dies.

    I think the guy should be obliged to buy 700 yearbooks.

    Special deal to him – cost price!
    He can burn them for heating and for the memories of his fun and how much it cost him/family in dollars.
    That would be way more appropriate than jail/record.

  13. Schools are no longer places of learning and discovery, but a place for rote testing and jackbooted discipline. No wonder so many kids need prescription drugs for ADD and such to make it through the day.

  14. Come on… When I was in high school… We soaped the locker… Changed name plates on doors… Let pigs loose in the school…. Chained a chey vega to a flag pole…. Thank god the statue of limitations has run….

  15. It is said in Columbia that the persecutor has a mastoid problem and could not get in to the office yesterday. His underlayers say that he has not made up his mind over the matter. But the persecutor is facing his own perp charges from his wife at home so the school matter may be laid to rest soon as it is in the hands of the victim. It is amazing how a typing error on a computer can get a school kid in trouble in this day and age. Sometimes what is in one’s mind ends up on the print page erroneously and without malice aforethought unless you have a name like this Malicious guy.

Comments are closed.