You say prank and I say vandalism

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ashley Isaac, 17, spoke Wednesday night as the valedictorian at Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School's graduation.

Her principal Mitzi McLaurine first told area media that she would not be able give her speech because she was involved with a "prank" on May 5 at the school.

Now, this "prank" involved students throwing eggs at the school building and signs and painting the windows with ketchup, mustard and syrup.

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In Montgomery's media, this is called a "prank."

In Greenville, this is called vandalism, plain and simple.

This young person said when she learned she could not give her valedictory speech because of her involvement, she cried foul.

Then her principal said after she saw all the bad press she was getting she had second thoughts.

And she and her father were photographed looking all sad and downtrodden, like someone had just shot their favorite dog.

I almost wept.

I remember on the day I graduated, during the rehearsal, I turned to my principal, Roger Speed, and said "Shut up."

The next thing I knew I was being told that I would not march with my class and that I could pick up my diploma at the school.

He took this breach on my part very serious and despite having finished my course work, I still had school policy to follow.

It took a very serious apology and I'm sure I begged some but I got to walk that night.

If I had gone home and told my folks what I had done, I would probably be wearing dentures today.

But then I read something like this and I'm confused.

At what point did the students begin running the schools?

At what point did parents get the right to run in and get their way?

I keep thinking about the question of "What happens when the inmates take over the asylum?'

It is my opinion that the girl in question is still a student until her name is called, she is handed her diploma and she moves her tassel over.

Until then, she is subject to school policy and if that means denying her the opportunity to speak to the graduating class because she helped vandalize the school, then so be it.

Because you know the moment she leaves that school and is considered an adult in the eyes of society, and then she eggs the school, it will be vandalism.

Can you imagine the consequences if she were a college senior and eggs the Bryant-Denny Chimes?

Or if she egged the Trojan in the Troy University Quad?

She would be expelled and probably facing charges.

Maybe one day society will regain control of the schools.

Until then, obviously vandals and the parents who love them are running them.

Where's Jerry Springer when you need him?




While on the subject of graduation, I had a great opportunity Wednesday night to get behind the scenes look at McKenzie High School's commencement.

I was extremely honored to be allowed to visit with the graduates before the ceremony and take some snapshots.

They were laughing and talking and one guy was walking around with a stuffed dog wearing a graduate hat and getting people to sign it.

When I see teens like the McKenzie Class of 2005, I feel rather good about our future.

To all the graduates of 2005, I wish you only the best in the life that awaits you.

As the salutatorian for McKenzie told her classmates, "Get ready for the rodeo of your life."

Cowboy up!

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at or write P.O. Box 507, Greenville, AL 36037.