pencil A tack placed on someone's seat is one of the oldest pranks out there, but it went terribly wrong recently in Ohio when a 12-year-old boy tried a variation of it. It happened during a choir class at Sailorway Middle School. One boy thought it would be funny to put a pencil on another boy's chair, but what happened next was anything but funny.

The pencil became impaled in the boy's buttocks -- it went through his jeans and two inches into his body. It had to be surgically removed. Ouch, and how horribly humiliating for this child to have to go through such trauma. But I also can't help but feel a bit sorry for the prankster too.

According to the police report, the boy stated “that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone" and that "he didn’t think that the pencil would go through the clothing.” Bad judgment for sure, but it sounds like he truly didn't mean any harm. Now he's being charged with misdemeanor assault, which will be on his record, affecting his chances for things like college and jobs.

Haven't we all tried to pull a prank or joke that just fell flat ... or worse? I remember being at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on a family vacation when I was in fifth grade. During lunch, my younger brother thought it would be funny to pull the chair out from underneath me, and I went crashing to the ground. I was humiliated and furious, but he got in such trouble from my parents that I ended up feeling a lot worse for him than I did for myself. He was just trying to make people laugh.

I worry about my 7-year-old in this respect a lot as he's always trying to be the funny guy. He doesn't have a mean bone in his soft-hearted body, but this is the kind of trouble I can see him getting into someday. Of course, I'll try to teach and warn him against ever hurting anyone, but sometimes the urge to make people laugh clouds one's judgment -- especially young boys. It doesn't make it okay, it just makes me cringe for this boy who I bet wishes with everything he is that he could take it back.

Certainly, I agree this boy should be punished, and my first sympathy goes to the victim. But if the offender has got an otherwise clean record and this was just an error in judgment, it seems assault is too harsh.

Do you think this student should be charged with assault?


Image via orangeacid/Flickr