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From arresting an honors student whose science experiment went wrong to hauling kids off to jail for snoozing in class, local newspapers have been filled recently with increasingly scary stories about the criminalization of students and youth.
Thanks to North Carolina, we now have the latest example of police and the criminal justice system interfering with kids, simply for being kids.
This year, a handful of students at Enloe High School in Raleigh North Carolina appear to have plotted perhaps the most unimaginative prank in high school history: tossing water balloons at other students. But thanks to aggression from the school's administration and local police, the prank didn't end peacefully.
In anticipation of the prank, school officials called in "increased security" and teachers held their students inside classrooms. After the balloons flew, seven boys were arrested, at least one handcuffed after being taken down down the asphalt by police.
Six are being charged with disorderly conduct, while one is being charged with assault and battery.
Russ Smith, senior director of security for the school system, told local station WRAL that school officials are taking the incident seriously.
"Somebody gets hit with a water balloon. They don't like it. So, the potential is there for there to be a physical altercation," Smith said.
Three of the boys remained in custody overnight, with one held on $3,000 bail.
Anyone who attended high school will remember seniors' end-of-the-year pranks. They're usually harmless and relatively uninventive acts: moving furniture out of classrooms, soaking younger students with squirt guns, parking cars in the wrong places. In the Fast Times at Ridgemont High era, water balloons would have been all fun and games. But today, as police and security guards increasingly patrol high school hallways, this joke was no laughing matter.