On May 31, 2011, Tyell Morton did a very foolish thing.
Morton, a senior at Rushville High School in Indiana decided to do what he thought was a harmless senior prank. Dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and wearing latex gloves, Morton planted a package (containing a blow-up doll) in the girls’ restroom. When it was discovered, all hell broke loose.
|Photo credit: FreeTyellMorton.org; Used with permission|
The Indiana State bomb squad was called to the campus and the school was evacuated. Morton had been caught on the surveillance cameras. He admitted putting the package in the restroom; he was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief.
Prosecutors find nothing humorous about Morton's prank, which school officials say cost them over $8,000. Morton not only missed his graduation, but he faces the possibility of spending eight years in prison if convicted.
Rush County Prosecutor Phil Caviness is taking this case very seriously. Caviness said, “In this post-Columbine world, that’s what you get when these kinds of things happen.”
People, it was a senior prank. Did the action rise to the level of a Columbine comparison? It was foolish and stupid, but is this the kind of thing that should send a young man to prison?
Morton has no criminal record; he is simply a young man who did a very stupid thing. He should not go unscathed, but the punishment should fit the crime. He should have to pay the cost of the evacuation, and community service would be in order -- but to send this young man to prison would be a real crime.
Joni Hudson-Reynolds is the author of the daily political blog Ebony Mom Politics. Reynolds brings insight and wit to her daily entries as she informs, empowers, and inspires her readers. Reynolds is married and the mother of two teens.