May 31, 2018
Two high school students in Montgomery County reportedly caused a panic with their senior prank, and some are crying foul over their punishment, saying it's too harsh.
On Wednesday, May 23, Sara Sabri Amer and Emmalyn Huber, both 18, came to school dressed in black clothing and carrying a live chicken, according to police.
They released the chicken in the hallways which, naturally, disrupted daily school activities.
But according to a FOX29 report, school officials didn't view the prank as harmless. The chicken chaos caused lockdowns in two classrooms; the problem, according to the report, is that Amer and Huber came to school wearing masks and hoods.
Huber and Amer, who is senior class president, both apologized. Huber told the news station she regretted it and was embarrassed. Amer said it was "stupid."
Police cited them for disorderly conduct; in Pennsylvania, disorderly conduct is a summary offense. A summary offense is the most minor type of criminal offense, but because both students are 18, it could stay on their criminal record for five years.
Only on Fox:A live chicken is let loose inside a Montco high school as a senior prank. Now students are facing criminal charges. Tonight they are apologizing @FOX29philly at 10. pic.twitter.com/Sd38SmNnn8— Chris O'Connell (@CoconnellFox29) May 24, 2018
The school punished them, too, which prompted an online petition circulated by students. It says the so-called masks were just T-shirts and sunglasses to hide their identity. The petition calls the prank "harmless" and notes that no one was hurt because of it:
A handful of individuals believe they deserve their punishment of 10 days of suspension (with only 2 weeks of school left), prohibition of any senior activities, legal trouble and fines, and revocation of their right to walk the stage at graduation all because of the disguises they wore. In the end, the act was completely harmless and no one was ever in real danger, not even the chicken. I feel that these students are receiving cruel and unusual punishment for this harmless act.
According to the Pottstown Mercury, the petition has sparked a debate on a community Facebook for the high school. Among those agreeing and disagreeing with the punishment was one particularly interesting comment from Pottsgrove School Board member Al Leach.
Leach used the analogy of parents punishing a child by grounding them for two weeks when they're supposed to go to a party during that time period. Per the Mercury:
“If your child takes their punishment like an adult and you see they have done everything to understand their actions have consequences, what is the likelihood you may let them out of punishment a little early? Say to attend the party.
“Now, on the other side your child fights you, doesn’t listen, protests, and forces your hand the entire time of punishment. Do you simply give in?"
More than 1,200 people have signed the petition, which has a goal of 2,000 signatures.