With Labour Day comes cooler evenings, the first hints of falling leaves, and, of course, back-to-school. Students are heading back to classes, row by row, and, across the province, thousands of fresh high school graduates are settling into dorm rooms.
With the start of school comes orientation celebrations, where life-long friends are made, campus life is explored, and freedom reigns. But Frosh Week can have a darker side. This week, the York Regional Police released their third annual “Frosh Week Expense List,” and it’s well worth a read. (You can access the full list here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/it-s-frosh-week-so-here-s-a-list-of-what-pranks-could-cost-you-1.3744060.).
party and celebrate your return to school,
but party with caution
The list reviews 29 pranks and their corresponding consequences – if you are caught. Some are simple and straightforward – like “going on a booze run for underage freshmen,” which still can attract a punishment of up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Others are a bit more creative – like “cutting off a stranger’s man bun” (which comes with possible jail time and a $5,000 fine), “saran-wrapping your R.A.’s car” (which could land you in jail for up to two years with a $5,000 fine), and “releasing a raccoon in your friend’s doom” (which could lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine).
Others still, perhaps thanks to our collective desensitisation from Hollywood’s portrayals of camp and college pranks, seem harmless enough though they are criminal acts, or amount to breaking bylaws that could cost you. For example, “jamming 11 people into your Kia Rio” goes for “$240 and/or your rear suspension,” “replacing your enemy’s shampoo with Nair” could land you “up to 5 years in jail, $5,000,” and “illegally dumping last year’s furniture” is a bylaw offences that depends on your township.
These items help to remind freshmen, college students, and our society more generally that sometimes seemingly harmless behaviours – even ones that are generally seen as socially unacceptable – can have dire consequences. Other items on the list that might be particularly informative include “keying your Uber driver’s car for trashing your rating,” which comes with a possible punishment of “up to 2 years in jail, $5,000,” and “unwanted booty grabbing,” which could lead to “up to 10 years in jail,” as well as a spot on the Sexual Offender’s Registry.
The York Region Police encourage students to party responsibly. They recognize that it’s already a pricey time to be a student and through their “laundry list of poor decisions” they are doing their part to warn students about forking out more. Their message applies equally across Ontario for all students: party and celebrate your return to school, but party with caution.