Missouri yearbook prank leads to student’s arrest
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Columbia high school student faces a possible felony charge after her arrest for changing a classmate’s name in the school yearbook to a sexually suggestive term.
The 17-year-old Hickman High School junior was arrested May 14 after she allegedly changed a student’s last name from Mastain to “masturbate” in the 100th edition of the Hickman Cresset yearbook. She could be charged with first-degree property damage, a felony, and harassment.
Assistant Boone County prosecutor Spencer Bartlett said Tuesday that the case remains under review. No charges had been filed against the teenager as of Tuesday afternoon.
The school decided against reprinting more than 700 yearbooks and instead placed stickers on the altered pages with the student’s correct surname, said yearbook adviser Kim Acopolis. The school estimated the costs of reprinting 720 yearbooks at $41,000.
“I do not think (she) had any sense of the consequences that would come,” Acopolis said, referring to the student purportedly behind the prank gone awry.
Both Acopolis and the girl whose name was changed, Raigan Mastain, an aspiring graphic designer, called the last-minute change by another yearbook staff member as an act of immaturity, not malice.
“I hardly knew her at all,” said Mastain, who graduated from Hickman last week. “I barely worked with her. We weren’t friends. But I didn’t think I had any problems with her.”
The student also faced unspecified school punishment, Hickman Principal Tracey Conrad told the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Mastain, a student government leader who also worked on the school newspaper and its literary review, said she didn’t even notice her altered name on page 270 until a friend alerted her by text message once she arrived home after school.
She expressed shock that her younger schoolmate faces a possible felony but also supports the school’s no-nonsense position.
“At some point, when someone makes a mistake, there needs to be a consequence,” said Mastain, 18, who is headed in the fall to the University of Central Missouri. “I do think it’s appropriate. It’s bullying. The property damage is an enormous amount of money. It’s not to be taken lightly.”
Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at http://twitter.com/azagier
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