Pranking, hazing no longer acceptable: (in most cases) - Eastern Arizona Courier: Editorials

Pranking, hazing no longer acceptable: (in most cases)

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 4:45 am

Afriend from a different state was checking inventory at work when she heard a gasp and a loud thump. Turning, she saw a customer lying on the floor, clutching her leg in obvious pain.

The ensuing investigation brought to light a clear thread that had been stretched taut from one side of the aisle to the other. Because it was tied on each side of the aisle, it was apparent that someone had decided to play a prank. Now, store videos are being watched in hopes the perpetrator can be identified.

It was a practical joke, some said, a (mostly) harmless prank. Why is everybody getting so riled up about it?

Consider Tom Sawyer's hustle when he conned his friends into whitewashing a fence for him and also paying him for the privilege. Anyone who is familiar with the classic knows that Tom was supposed to be doing the work himself because he had played hooky from school and gotten his clothes dirty.

Remember "To Kill a Mockingbird" when some terribly wicked children moved all of the furniture of deaf Misses Frutti and Tutti Barber down into the basement?

Those are pranks, and they would even be considered harmless by most.

The pranks with the clear thread and the recent "pantsing" of students at San Carlos High School do not, however, fit in the category of harmless. The latter is considered hazing, which is illegal in most states, including Arizona.  

Pantsing was not a term the Courier was familiar with until it began to look into the reasons the San Carlos High football game had been cancelled with Willcox last week. We discovered the game had been cancelled because upperclassmen had hazed younger students by yanking their pants down around their ankles.

We know you want to laugh.

The reality in today's society is that people are more likely to file criminal charges or lawsuits over situations like these than at any time in history. That's good, and it's bad.

The positive side is that more people are unlikely to continue to suffer as victims of bad behavior because they understand their rights. On the other hand, scores of frivolous lawsuits are filed every year in an attempt to get money out of deep pockets, including businesses, school districts and governments.

Keep this in mind if you decide to play a joke on someone this Halloween season. There are fun jokes that everyone can enjoy even if faces are a little red from embarrassment. There are also pranks and hazing activities that can more than just feelings. People have be traumatized, injured and even killed in more extreme examples. Choose wisely.

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