Fast Times at Huntsville High

It’s not every day that national news occurs in Huntsville, Alabama. But in the case of this particular story, we denizens of the “Rocket City” would have preferred to keep a lower profile.

Last Thursday, several seniors at Huntsville High School suffered from simultaneous group brain lock and decided that they would salve their senioritis and seal their legacy with the “greatest senior prank of all time.” Their idea? Lure a mentally ill homeless man into the school with promises of food and money and have him take off his pants and streak down the halls in the middle of a class change. After apparently sneaking the man into the building through several locked doors, they were unfortunately successful in their attempt.

What ever happened to crickets in the hallway and stealing your archrival’s mascot? Back in my day, if there was going to be any streaking, people generally had the spine to do it themselves without contracting it out. What gutless wunderkinder we’re raising these days.

The resulting community uproar, among adults at least, has been intense. Thankfully, as of this morning, the story has had limited distribution through the wire services, although I expect that to change as the news cycle picks up this week. I don’t know which is more disturbing, the fact that soon-to-be-on-their-own “adults” would conceive and carry out such a dehumanizing stunt, or the fact that now, even days later, they are being defended by many of their peers at school who think the incident has been overblown and was “funny.”

Well “funny” is likely to be less so once the powers that be sort out the situation and begin to mete out punishment to the generals, lieutenants and foot soldiers who carried out the dastardly prank. Options include not walking at graduation and withholding their diplomas, suspension, explusion and some type of community service.

I would stop short of ruining someone’s life, but I would make sure that the summer of 2006 is remembered for hard work, hot sun and the hundreds of homeless faces whom you served meals to down at the local rescue mission. Obviously, these seniors are missing some important pieces of education from their portfolios. Nothing like a little “summer school” to solve that problem.

So, this is what “fast times at Huntsville High” look like these days. I wonder what Jeff Spicoli would say? Probably something like, “No brains, no pants, no diploma.”

  1. Hal

    This bit of news has not made it as far as NE TN, yet.

    I would be pleasantly surprised if your school administrators have the intestinal fortitude to administer meaningful punishment. Your punishment plan sounds like a good one. I’ll bet the parents of these hooligans, who have apparently abandoned their posts, will complain loudly if their children are punished for this crime.

  2. scott

    Mike, with your newfound Copean comment level, aren’t you running the risk of perpetuating the news cycle for this story?

    Oh, and the Rutles don’t compare to Nigel, David, Derek, Viv and whichever drummer they have at the moment.

  3. mike the eyeguy


    I had that thought to, and I hope nobody buys their way out of this. I’m sure the parents and perhaps family lawyers are already busy at work in an attempt to mitigate the forthcoming punishment. Sometimes parents are AWOL, sometimes kids do stupid stuff anyway. It’ll be interesting how this pans out. I’ll do an update when the terms are announced.


    Good point. In fact, my post is sitting currently at #1 on Google blogs for the search terms “Huntsville High prank homeless.” I just hope the punishment fits the crime so that at least we have something to brag about.

    Eyegal, Number One son and I laughed ourselves silly at Spinal Tap. The Rutles would have to be pretty funny to top that.

  4. scott

    Did you listen to the audio commentary during Tap? Nigel et al are in character. Priceless.

  5. mike the eyeguy

    All I heard was the commentary at the beginning regarding the “black screen” and DVD menu. Hopefully, Eyegal hasn’t turned it in yet and I can take another look tonight.

  6. PatrickMead

    I propose making the students AND their parents feed the homeless for two months, during which they must live without cable, iPods, or air conditioning. Then, and only then, are the diplomas issued.

    Or… make them listen to 24 hours straight of any music by Streisand, Wayne Newton, or Raffie.

  7. Ed

    Hey, it was just a harmless prank that got out of control … you know, like burning churches in West Alabama.

    (for those that don’t know me well … those comments are dripping with sarcasm)

  8. mike the eyeguy


    Thanks a lot. Now I’ve got sarcasm all over my shirt and tie.

  9. mike the eyeguy


    I think the former would be fitting and apropos. Maybe even an additional requirement to pitch a pup tent under the I-565 overpass and live with the homeless too.

    The latter is a little over-the-top–cruel and inhumane punishment of the highest (or maybe it’s lowest) order.

  10. Ed

    Just saw a news story where the terms of the punishment were defined for the five students:

    1) The students are banned from participating in baccalaureate services

    2) The students cannot participate in any school-sponsored senior activities

    3) The students are banned from walking at graduation

    4) The students must complete 100 hours of community service within the homeless community before they can get their diplomas

    I’m sure the outcries and appeals will follow.

  11. greg

    wow, thanks for the info mike. I haven’t paid much attention to Hsv news in recent months, as we’re pretty much settled back here in LR now, so I probably would’ve missed this. I’m glad it wasn’t a slap on the wrist, and I was especially glad to see the community service part. Hopefully, it will actually do them some good. Although, I wonder if this is the end, or will the parents try to get some of this overturned? I hope it all sticks.

    BTW, I’ve meant to ask you – do you know the Mann family over there? Alan and his family were good friends of ours at Twick during our 4 years there, and I was thinking his brother and parents were at Mayfair.

  12. mike the eyeguy

    Hey Greg,

    Yeah, great PR for the Rocket City, eh?

    From what I’ve been able to gather from the news and talking to some Huntsville High students today, I’m thinking it’s going to stick. Although the school didn’t ID the individuals, everybody knows who they are (my son goes to Grissom but knows at least 2 or 3 of the persons who are being punished).

    A couple of the families called the TV stations and volunteered their names and wanted everybody to know that the two Dads had already taken their sons to the Rescue Mission for some early orientation for their upcoming community service hours. They apologized to the director of the mission and to the guy they recruited for the stunt who happened to be there when they visited. I thought that was proactive and a good start toward the necessary penance.

    On the other hand, another one of the kids has been making a lot of noise on the internet about how proud he is of the stunt, but that was before the punishment was announced. Hopefully, he’ll be changing his tune now, but you never know.

    Yes, I know Alan very well–he’s a good friend and my attorney! I also know Cliff and his family who go to Mayfair.

  13. Hoots Musings

    The worst that ever happened in my fair town was a dead horse being buried in the school yard….we were the Mustangs. Cross town rivals did that one!
    They were the Plainsmen, so it was good no lives were lost in trying to top that feat!

    A streaking homeless man…I cannot see the humor in that one!

  14. mike the eyeguy

    Hey Hoots!

    Burying a dead horse on the grounds of the archrival Mustangs is exactly the kind of prank that I have in mind when I think of “old school.” You folks out in west Texas could teach these young wonder boys a thing or two. Uh, surely the horse was already dead, right?

    Not only is preying on a mentally incompetent homeless man and paying him to streak immoral, it is, as I pointed out in the post, gutless. I would have infinitely more respect for them if they had dropped their own Skoal-stained jeans and ran down the hallway naked. These geniuses talk a good game, but when you get down to it, have no spine.

  15. contratimes


    You report a nasty, ugly prank; one that lacks creativity and thoughtfulness. As you know, a good prank is hard to denigrate. But a bad prank, well, a bad prank is never better than no prank.

    When I was a high school junior, several guys, packed into a pickup truck with a load of rocks, smashed nearly every window in the high school. Though it was late-May and thus way past snow days, we nonetheless had two days off from school. ‘Twas a bad prank.

    Years later, at the same school, several shrewd pre-engineering students one night were able to place every school chair on the building’s flat roof. No one could find a seat for quite some time. Good prank.

    In the past few weeks up here in New England, someone stole a Pillsbury Doughboy from a business. The doughboy was then photographed at all sorts of venues–amusement parks, strip joints, restaurants–and his portraits made the digital rounds. He was even photographed wearing a blindfold. Eventually he was found standing alongside a park stream, holding a fishing pole. He is now safe at home. Good prank.

    While I was in college, one prankster, in an attempt to harass the always overzealous, far-too-serious students who worked as campus security officers, called the switchboard to report a head-on crash directly in front of Lewis and Shephard halls. He also reported that there were injuries. Moments later, zooming from headquarters in the campus police car (a Chevy Nova), Hutch (real name), the student/security officer (who was often seen reading “Soldier of Fortune” magazine in the library), came upon the scene. Sure enough, there, in the middle of the road, was indeed a horrific accident: Tucked between two brightly burning road flares were two Matchbox cars, toppled on their sides. A small puddle of lighter fluid was ablaze. Nearby were placed little plastic people sprinkled with ketchup. Great midnight prank.



  16. mike the eyeguy


    Great stories, thanks for sharing those. That last one really brought back a lot of good memories of the earnest “Barney Fifes” who faithfully watched over us at Harding University. Unlike Barney, though, they had only flashlights and not even a single bullet.

  17. Nancy

    Sarcasm on EyeGuy’s tie?

    Perhaps he needs a new one… But we all know there are consequences for not watching American Idol.


  18. mike the eyeguy


    Hey, remember I did declare for Romney (man, I can be bought cheap). Surely David has more than one of those fine accessories lying around somewhere.

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