I have long been critical of the criminalization of American society, particularly at our schools We have seen school pranks charged as crimes in high school (and here). Now three 12-year-old girls at Deltona Middle School in Volusia County in Florida have been charged for the prank of putting pepper in the soft drink of their teacher. 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.
The girls acted after one of the girls was disciplined by teacher Jayne Morgan. As one girl distracted Morgan, another put red pepper flakes into her soft drink. A third girl (the one disciplined earlier) had brought the red flakes from home.
The teacher gagged on the pepper and then spotted the flakes after pouring the soda into a clear glass.
I do not take such incidents lightly, particularly when the act is in retaliation for discipline. That can be a dangerous prank. While it was just pepper, some people can have severe reactions to such additives. Just because this is a kitchen spice does not mean that it cannot do serious damage. However, there is still the question of when a prank should be elevated to a criminal matter. There was a time when this would have been handled with suspensions and internal discipline — supported by stern parental measures. Instead, the girls have been charged with tampering with a consumer product and poisoning. Those are very serious charges for a stupid, adolescent prank. I certainly do not think that the criminal law process will be good for the girls, who deserve severe punishment through the school system. I would expel the girls and send them to another high school on probation for the remainder of their pre-college schooling.
What do you think? Do you think criminal charges are warranted.
32 thoughts on “Three 12-Year-Girls Criminally Charged After Spiking Teacher’s Soda With Red Pepper”
Depending on the type and strength of pepper that was used, its consumption by an unsuspecting person might well have had deadly consequences!
“That gym teacher could have drowned,” the ninnies would say, and they would make that day the fork in the road where those silly kids’ lives all sloped steeply downward, instead of what it really was, a puzzling, transient incident that had needn’t have lasting consequences for anybody.
A prank would be like distracting the teacher and relocating her drink…maybe even across the room. Like a class prank. This seems more than just a prank. Its not like tp or eggs or things that can be cleaned up without property damage by the perps. More than a prank it demonstrated malice not mischief.
I remember an incident on the last day of my last semester of 9th grade during a physical education class. After class in the locker room, nearly everyone joined in and contrary to his wishes (abducted and) pushed the teacher (who was a good guy and the defensive line coach on the varsity football team) into the shower for a good soaking. He struggled, and I remember him shouting, “I could see it if we’d just one a game or something, but this is just a PE class!” It didn’t help his cause: he got drenched and wore wet clothes the rest of the day.
I was new to the school, having arrived a month before school recess, so I didn’t partake and didn’t know what to think of it anyway. It was funny to watch, but at the same time the coach had a point (and I wanted to play football in high school).
~When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, . . .~
Perhaps this all depends on where you life. I’m in New Mexico. Anyone who even has the audacity to complain about the effect of red pepper flakes would be considered strange. We consume very hot food here. I even put red pepper flakes in the chocolate truffles I make.
What bothers me is this zero tolerance and criminalizing childhood. The girls should have been disciplined in-house, and kept after school the rest of the year, but not handed over to the cops. When I think about the things I did in school, I would have ended up in prison. People who disrupt high school graduations the way my best friend, and a group of us did at your younger siblings’ graduation are now arrested. The principal thought it was funny because we were the ‘good kids’ when we were in high school.
My mother and her friends used a chocolate laxative, baking it into brownies to give to one of their teachers. It was considered hilarious, even by the teacher. Of course at that time, winning World War II was more important than destroying the lives of my mother and two of her friends.
My father knocked over out-houses (the highs school principal was in one at the time), disrupted street-cars, and arranged to have all the toilets in the men’s room at the railway station in Chicago flushed at the same time. He and his BFF, Herb Johnston, let the air out of all the tires belonging to their high school teachers, at a PTA meeting, and threw away the caps or what ever they are that hold in the air.
I feel so sorry for kids today.
Oh, yeah, btw, I just read an article about the incident–surprisingly, the girls all have Hispanic-sounding names and the teacher, surprise, surprise, by golly, does not. I guess that it would be racist and highly discriminatory to hold these senoritas accountable for their actions. Don’t pay any attention to the fact that this cute little prank was committed in retaliation for the teacher sending one of the lovely young brats to the principal on the suspicion of having stolen a laptop. Block that out. After all, our racist and unjust society needs to atone for every and any conceivable prejudice, even if it means that a few innocents are going to go into anaphylactic shock. Oh, well. Them’s the breaks. We have it coming to us. Just a part of our penance. Get used to it. Hispanic lives matter.
Your opinion makes sense, but, only to a point. Given that the substance that these two young ladies put into the drink COULD’VE killed someone, as indicated by your personal account–where the teacher could’ve become incapacitated, could’ve been rendered unable to breath–what you are basing your opinion upon is merely a lucky coincidence. The fact that the teacher didn’t, thankfully, stop breathing. The fact that she didn’t, thankfully, lose the capacity to swallow. That is only because of the grace of God–not because this stunt wasn’t potentially dangerous or deadly to someone with various allergies. Had she died as a result of the prank, then what? Do we need to sit back and wait for that to happen to some unsuspecting victim, where we will collectively ring our hands and bemoan the fact that, as a society, we didn’t nip this in the bud when the opportunity presented itself? Given the potential for grievous harm, this is not something that should be dealt with using the mostly incompetent and inept school employees. The juvenile courts exist for a reason and they should be utilized and involved in this case, as they are the ones who are the most reasonably equipped to facilitate the proper counseling, treatment and supervision needed in addressing such a potentially deadly act.
bam bam – if a frog had wings it could fly and not bump its butt every time it jumps.
What a pack of ninnies! Someone bring the smelling salts!
Sneaking up and saying ‘boo’ can cause someone a heart attack. I bet someone with PTSD could even have a serious flashback.
We should not react to every stupid prank as if the worst possible imaginable outcome actually took place, regardless of likelihood or the actual outcome. Not only is that tragically unfair to immature children at the start of their lives, but it tends to create a tentative world where we all have to walk perpetually on eggshells, a world littered with shattered people whose futures were derailed by single, minor, impulsive acts of childish misjudgement — patrolled by busybody ninnies just waiting for an opportunity to scream foul for their chickensht vision of the public good.
Old Man Boggs – this is a charge too far. There shouldn’t be any charge at all as far as I am concerned. Where I the teacher and realized something was in my drink, I would have poured it out and not said anything. They lose the pleasure of a reaction (the goal of every prank) and no class time is lost. From the time this teacher found something in the drink, the class was over for the day.
Paul – that sounds funny. It sounds like all those attempts on your coffee were a quest to pull one over on Mr Schulte.
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