Teenagers, parents, educators and other members of the community in Teaneck, New Jersey, are trying to move forward after a senior prank led to the arrests of 63 students in early May. The students are charged with criminal mischief and burglary. The alleged incident received widespread media attention, though the district superintendent later characterized the ensuing reports as “fiction.” She went on to say that reports from the police department and the school district differed with regard to the extent of damage caused by the alleged vandalism.

Police initially claimed that students snuck into the school and wrote permanent graffiti on school property. According to the superintendent, however, the ink used in the writing was water-based and easily removed. She also met with custodians who cleaned the school after the prank, and the custodians confirmed that no property was damaged.

Six days after the students were arrested, a rally was held at the high school. School officials, community members and about 200 students gathered to speak about the prank and to say that a single event doesn’t define the whole school or the teenagers now facing charges. Those who spoke at the rally emphasized that one mistake should not overshadow the students’ positive achievements.

Of the 63 students who stand accused, 24 are 18 years old. At the time of a May 15 report, the Bergen County prosecutor had not decided whether to charge the young adults or to remand the cases to municipal court for resolution.

Being convicted of burglary can have long-term consequences for a young person. Generally, when a minor has been accused of a crime, a notice is sent to the parents to indicate that a juvenile hearing has been scheduled. These notices typically say that a criminal defense attorney is not required. However, parents would be wise to speak with an attorney with experience in handling juvenile cases.

You can learn more about juvenile crime allegations at our criminal defense website.

Source: NorthJersey.com, “Teaneck teens say they want to move forward,” Megan Burrow, May 15, 2014