Scheele admitted to the prank and it is hard to believe that anyone could have considered the sale to be a legitimate offer.
Despite the obvious prank, the school called in the police to investigate the threat . . . from an offer to sale the school at a discounted rate (apparently a common terrorist tactic). This is the statement from a Independence School District:
Out of an abundance of caution, administrators and police investigated and determined there was not a credible threat. A student who makes a real or implied threat, whether it is deemed credible or not, will face discipline. Due to the heightened concern nationally with school violence, we have extra police officers for the remainder of the school year and will have additional officers at graduations for all of our high schools.
Some would call it “an abundance of caution” and some would call it a lack of a sense of humor. Nevertheless, a court ruled for the school district in barring him from graduation.
We have previously discussed how schools now call police as the first response to such pranks where a simple parent-teacher meeting once was deemed sufficient. In Arizona, a high school student was hit with 69 charges of indecent exposure for a prank during a football team photo. In Indiana, a high school student was criminally charged after sneaking into the school to put blow up dolls in the girls bathroom. In Missouri, a high school student was arrested for putting substituting the word “masturbate” for a name in the yearbook. The list goes on and on where arrests are the first rather than last resort — leaving pranksters with criminal records.
According to WDAF-TV, school officials admitted that their objection was the reason stated for the sale: “due to the loss of students coming up.”
If the objection was indeed to that line rather than the posting of the ad, it does raise a free speech concern. The ad was satire but the line reflects a criticism of the school (made outside of school) by a student.
Once again, I fail to see why such matters cannot be handled with a calling in of the student. Scheele reportedly apologized and I fail to see the proportionality in barring him from a well-earned celebration of graduation.
What do you think?