Toilet Paper Prank Sinks High School Kid's Graduation

I was your normal, average kid growing up in normal, average Muncie, Indiana. I wasn't a goody two-shoes, but I wasn't a troublemaker either. Oh, sure, I was obnoxious, but show me a teenage boy who isn't.

Usually, when I got in trouble, it was over something harmless, like staying out too late or going to a rated R movie when I was 14 and lying about it to my parents. (Only to be caught later, because I was not very good at being devious.)

Even my pranks were harmless. Like stealing For Sale signs out of someone's yard and putting them in someone else's. We got my band director, Mr. Pritchett, that way a couple times.

My pinnacle achievement was sticking five or six signs in his yard over Spring Break. (I don't think he ever found out who did it, and I'm hoping he doesn't read this.)

The last day of the year was always Senior Prank Day, but a few of us — Mike, Chris, Jon, and me — wanted to be first. We decided to pull our prank the night before, so it would be waiting when everyone showed up the next morning. And I wanted to top my previous record.

We spray painted "EAT ME" on a bed sheet and "borrowed" 15 or so For Sale signs from a local realtor's office. We stuck the signs in front of the school, and Mike and I climbed onto the roof and hung the sheet in front of the building. We also tied a dead possum next to it.

(We spotted it on the way to the school and picked it up. Don't ask.)

Then we all went home, except for Jon, who had to drive past the school once more. Which is when he got stopped by the cops. Which is how our dean got the first inkling about the culprits.

The next morning, when we showed up, everything was gone. It had already been cleaned up, and no one witnessed our victory! That's when things began to fall apart.

Jon was called into the office immediately, and asked who had pulled the prank. He admitted to it, and was threatened with being banned from graduation that night if he didn't name his co-conspirators. So he named Chris.

Chris got called into the office and was offered the same deal. So he named me.

I realized we were all done for, so I thought, "Screw it," and nailed Mike.

Bingo! That was the guy the dean had been gunning for. For four years, he'd had Mike in his sights but could never make anything stick, and now was his chance to come down on him hard.

He banned Mike from graduation.

An hour later, Mike's mom was screaming at the dean about "calling a #&%$! lawyer," when he caved and rescinded his ban.

I don't remember what happened to the others after that, but I was grounded for an entire month, including my 18th birthday. I also had to take the signs back to the realtor, who thought the prank was brilliant and said if I had called him first, he would have loaned them to me.

Live and learn.

I was reminded of my little prank none-of-your-business years later, when I read about a kid who was banned from crossing the stage for his graduation. (Tonight, as I write this, in fact.)

Hayden Anderson of Virginia Beach, Virginia and some unnamed friends unfurled 250 rolls of toilet paper around the high school, but only Hayden was found out. He was banned, not because of his role in the prank, but because he wouldn't name his accomplices.

The morning after, Hayden was escorted to the principal's office by security guards — in my day, you were just called down and you went — where he was asked about his accomplices.

Unlike the four of us, Hayden wouldn't rat anyone out, and so his principal suspended him for three days, banned him from graduation, and will mail Hayden's diploma to him. According to a story on, Hayden said "those are his best friends and he can't give them up."

"Taking away his privilege to walk on that stage, to me that's just wrong. He earned that right," said Nick Yarrington, who says Anderson is more than a best friend, "he's a brother."

Now, I'm no police detective, but I think if the school wanted to get some answers, they might want to lean on Nick Yarrington a bit. But what do I know?

In the end, I was able to walk across my graduation stage. We all were. But I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we kept our mouths shut. Would anyone else's mom screamed at the dean about a lawyer? Mine wouldn't. I would have been kept out of graduation and told I was lucky it wasn't worse.

To tell you the truth, I don't remember much about graduation these days. Sure, it was fine at the time, but I couldn't even tell you where my high school diploma is now.

I think Hayden has made the better choice, and he's going to remember the day he was true to his friends and refused to back down from a pencil-pushing bully. If anything, that's the most important life lesson Hayden's high school could have ever taught him.

Photo credit: Chase Urich (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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