Like many high school seniors, Tyell Morton wanted to play a prank before graduation. But unlike most other teens, the stupid stunt led to him being arrested, held in jail, and charged with a felony.
18-year-old Morton admits that he crept into Indiana's Rushville High and put a blow up doll in the girls' restroom. As WTHR reports, that's not how administrators interpreted the incident while watching security footage. The video showed a man wearing a hoodie and latex gloves leave a mysterious package in the bathroom, so they evacuated the school and called in a bomb squad. All authorities found was a box containing the deflated doll.
The prank cost the school $8,000 and soon after Morton was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief. His bail was set at $30,000 and he spent several days in jail while his family struggled to come up with the money. He isn't allowed back on school property, and if convicted, he could spend eight years in prison (though since he has no previous criminal record, that seems unlikely).
Many are complaining that officials overreacted, and Morton says:
"It's not right. It was a senior prank. They're blowing it out of proportion. I didn't hurt anybody, I didn't intend to embarrass anybody. What did I do wrong, you know?"
Prosecutor Phil Caviness counters, "In this post-Columbine world, that's what you get when these kinds of things happen." School administrators erred on the side of caution, but Morton clearly didn't intend to hurt anyone (even if a blow up doll in the ladies room doesn't seem particularly hilarious). Morton should be punished, but this calls for something like suspension or at worst a minor charge for unintentionally putting the school through so much trouble. As his lawyer points out, "had he gone to school with a gun, there would've been a lesser charge. It would've been a Class D felony with up to three years."