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Osama wins again!

This is just ridiculous.

Seniors went to three $1 stores and bought about 150 alarm clocks in the shape of houses or butterflies, which would be scattered throughout the school.

They would be wrapped in duct tape, so teachers could not shut them off by removing their batteries, and set for 9:15. And when they went off, the seniors would rise and march triumphantly outside to acknowledge that the fat lady — or at least her alarm clock — had sung. They had made it through high school.

Now, with 19 students facing felony charges for placing false bombs, it’s pretty clear it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Of all the senior pranks out there, this is one of the tamest - the only cleanup involved is picking up a bunch of clocks. However, the school has apparently decided the pranksters should spend their next few years in prison, not college. What is the world coming to?

I could forgive the school officials for getting antsy about what might be attached to clocks planted in their building after hours, though it shows just how well al-Qaeda's (or the Bush administration's) attempts to terrorize the American public have worked. I'm much more perplexed by their decision to press charges. These kids don't seem dangerous - as far as anyone can tell, the idea that their pranks could lead to a bomb scare never even occurred to them. (That seems to happen too often.)

By week’s end, officials announced that the 19 charged could get their diplomas but could not attend graduation ceremonies and that those students who helped finance the operation — perhaps a quarter of the class of more than 200 — could attend graduation only if they did community service first.

If I were among the innocent, I'd be awfully tempted to skip the ceremony in protest. I don't think that's a punishment the school should use for a senior prank, so the students should boycott them right back.