Tassie schoolboy Jackass prank traumatises staff

Four Year 8 students at Hobart's Sacred Heart College have been suspended after dressing in balaclavas and crying "hold-up" to frightened school office staff in a prank apparently inspired by the controversial Jackass TV series.

The Mercury reports that the US television stunt show inspired students in balaclavas to rush into a Hobart school office and yell "this is a hold-up" to frightened staff.

Another boy filmed the prank at Sacred Heart College, mimicking the Jackass series.

The four Year 8 boys then ran to the playground and intimidated a female teacher's assistant, demanding she return a confiscated ball.

School principal Jill Morgan said the stunt had been very dangerous and the boys had been suspended.

"If they had done that down the street, or at Kmart, who knows what could have happened," she said.

"It was a group of boys who are heavily influenced by a TV program called Jackass.

"They carried out a little prank in the school that they thought was very funny.

"It was a big laugh, but it's not now, they've been off school for a week."

Mrs Morgan said the boys had been interviewed by police at her insistence and would not return to school until they had attended a community conference next week.

"We deal with bullying immediately," she said. "The boys have to face everyone who they have hurt."

Jackass features people performing dangerous and self-injuring stunts and pranks, such as people being tasered, maced and shot while wearing bullet-proof vests.

Mrs Morgan said the boys would go through the restorative justice process the school had introduced last year. It focused on the restoration of relationships rather than punishing bullies.

"It has reduced bullying in the school significantly," she said.

Students are made to face their victims and the consequences of their actions, and must make up for the hurt caused.

"It's not good enough to just say sorry," she said.

Catholic Education Office director Dr Dan White said nine out of the 12 Catholic secondary colleges were using the principles borrowed from the youth justice sector.

"It has significantly reduced the incidence of school bullying," he said.

"Rather than punish the student, you get the student to acknowledge what happened.

"In particular we want them to think about how their action affected the other person."

Independent Education Union secretary Angela Briant said the staff who experienced the prank at Sacred Heart had been traumatised.

"Anyone who is a victim of such harassment is devastated by it," she told The Mercury.

School prank backfires (The Mercury, 17/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jackass (TV Series) (Wikipedia)
Sacred Heart College, Hobart

17 May 2007