Senior Pranks: Tradition or tragedy?

Should seniors be allowed to pull a prank?


Isabella Gasper

Senior pranks, such as being pied in the face, are highly discouraged.

Aleina Tuufuli, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA – Los Al Griffins are back for their last quarter of the 2023 school year. As the spring term comes to an end, the seniors are ramping up for the end-of-year activities planned for them. From revisiting their elementary and middle school campuses, to senior breakfast and senior sunset, this year’s graduating class at Los Alamitos High School has a handful of traditions approaching in just a few weeks. However, there is one “tradition” that seniors are discouraged from participating in. 

Senior pranks have often been viewed as a rite of passage for each year’s graduating class. The whole class, or at least a group of graduates, comes together to pull a stunt on campus for a laugh. It is without a doubt that the students are bubbling with anticipation for the end of the school year. Promptly following AP exams and senior finals in May, seniors have many events leading up to their graduation on June 6. These range from the senior awards night, to senior parade, to grad night at Disneyland. 

However, in spite of these end-of-year activities, it is unsurprising that seniors feel they should also be allowed to participate in a prank. 

“I think it’s part of the senior experience,” said senior Mia Nelson. Many of Nelson’s peers shared a similar insight in the survey the Griffin Gazette conducted.

“It’s a traditional thing that the seniors do, and it’s something they look forward to,” said senior Parker Wilson. 

Senior Samantha Comer provided a unique perspective on the topic that stood out from her peers.

“It builds community and brings us together one last time to pull something off as a unit. People get together for one cause. It teaches us how to work together and to coordinate with people we may or may not know,” Comer said. 

While many of the students feel that a senior prank is an inherent rite of passage, admin is concerned with the damages a practical joke could cause. Most stunts result in major damage to school campus and vandalism, which is not taken lightly. Pranks are also cause for concern for the interruptions that could arise on campus.

They cause disruption and oftentimes result in vandalism, so we don’t allow senior pranks.

— Mr. Bowen, assistant principal

“It makes it difficult for teachers to teach, for students to learn, and for me to keep the campus safe and running in a smooth and orderly manner,” said Los Al’s assistant principal, Mr. Bowen. 

While senior pranks are widely regarded as a rite of passage, school administration disagrees, and for good reason. 

“We provide students with so many end-of-the-year activities that allow them to have fun and enjoy their last weeks or month here at school,” Mr. Bowen said. 

It is evident that administration hopes seniors enjoy their final weeks of high school while staying safe and following the rules. While senior pranks are not condoned on campus here at Los Al, some students in years past have found ways to participate in an end-of-the-year joke: one that was memorable and didn’t cause damage or disruption. 

“One year the seniors decided to make T-shirts that were based on my name, and it was so creative and clever,” said Mr. Bowen. 

This senior prank consisted of the graduating class making shirts that all had a play on words with Mr. Bowen’s name, resulting in images like the assistant principals head on a flamingo as “Flamingo Phil.”

“It came from such a good place, and it’s something still talked about to this day that happened 10 to 15 years ago,” Mr. Bowen said.

As the assistant principal spoke fondly of the T-shirt prank, it was clear that this clever stunt was held in high regard. It didn’t result in the destruction of campus and was a source of laughter, not only for the students but administrators as well. 

However, there is cause for concern in regards to what the prank may or may not be in the near future from this year’s graduating class, given their resilience in continuing another pastime, Senior Assassin