No 'felony prank' charge for Blaine Marchant Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jun 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm
There will be no felony charge against Blaine Marchant, 18, the Palo Alto High School senior who left his old Volvo station wagon overturned on the deck in the school's Quad last week as a senior prank. He has instead been charged with one count of misdemeanor vandalism.
Posted by tired of bickering, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm
The adminstration's response (aka arresting a student for flipping over his own car and damaging a few boards on an old deck) made it impossible for any of the other students to come forward. No parent is going to let their child be arrested for a prank.
Thank you to the District Attorney for being sensible!
Posted by just thinking, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 4:05 pm
So I guess that no one believes that anyone is guilty of anything other than rudeness in the vandalisim against the Gunn kids. After all, rude is apparently an assest or virtue in the eyes of soooo many in Palo Alto.(And not just about the mature ADULTS of 18 behaving like 10 year olds.
Posted by Garin, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 4:23 pm
"Blaine's parents are not dealing with this alone, a whole community of people has rallied to support them."
Really? Who has stepped up, publicly, to share the blame with Blaine? I am not aware of a single person. All I have heard is silence, excuses, blame the administration or, even worse, that Blaine agrred, ahead of time, to accept all the blame himself.
Posted by A Love Supreme, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 7:26 pm
I know a Paly kid who isn't considered part of the Marchant crowd, because she doesn't pull idiotic pranks and doesn't hang out with his buddies. She's "not-cool" as far as his crowd is concerned, you see. For the last few years, quietly, without telling others, she has spent every summer in one of the poorest countries in the world, working in an orphanage for children who lost their mothers to AIDS. Not for religious reasons, she is an agnostic, and not so it looks good on her college application, only for the un-cool reason that she wants to make a change. I know, not from her, that she has occasionally been ridiculed actually made fun by his crowd, because she won't lower herself to their level of infantile irrelevance. And yes, she is actually an hysterically funny kid.
Posted by Mommy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 7:33 pm
Hey, here's an idea.
How about if next year PAUSD hires some security guards for the nights, to patrol Paly and Gunn for a couple weeks leading up to graduation. Lets say $100/night, that's $700 week, $1400 for two weeks per campus.
Seems a small price to pay to protect multi multi million dollar properties, and the health, saftey and reputations of a few stupid kids who obviously aren't smart enough to keep themselves out of harms way.
We can have the schools charge an extra $10 per kid for grad night to fund the extra security costs.
Unsecured High schools during graduation time - magnets for pranksters, gangsters and all manner of little tykes looking for trouble.
Maybe we can save these children from themselves, and save some PAUSD property in the process by being the grownups.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 7:50 pm
How about having some genuinely cool kid telling future pranksters, free of charge, that pulling stupid pranks isn't the mark of coolness, but of stupidity, and stupidity is never cool, brave or sexy. This was a gangsta type of prank. Any kid who thinks that gangsta is cool, should be forced to spend one night in E.Palo Alto.
Posted by tired of bickering, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2007 at 8:37 pm
Garin - you may have your HS confused, there was a pretty disgusting prank done by some Gunn students - Blaine goes to Paly, flipped his own car upside down on a deck, hung the tires and sprayed his own car with graffiti. Not to condone what he did, but it really was just a prank (broke a few planks on a 30 year old deck too)
A Love Supreme - Your daughter sounds like a really great person, someone we would all like to know in years to come. The reality of high school is there are cool kids and not - and generally the nots rule the world later (wouldn't you have hated to peak in high school?) Aside from that, the Marchants are actually nice people.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 14, 2007 at 6:25 am
Just a little comment about the comment for why this wonderful girl ( and I agree, she IS) does her volunteer work at the orphanage. "Not because she is religious...but because she wants to make a change in the world".
There is an implied assumption that people who do such things because they want to spread the Love that they have received are somehow not doing it for the same reason. ( to make a change).
Just a comment. Not trying to start anything here, but it struck me as a comment that revealed a lack of understanding about what drives most "religious" people to do good works.
Posted by bob, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jun 14, 2007 at 6:48 am
to associate the word cool with the prank marchant has pulled is misleading and wrong. there was nothing brave, risky, innovative or funny about it. it's hard not to believe that he knew he would be protected by the paly community and not end up paying a serious price. the message to would be 'pranksters' is to go on with this self absorbed stuff. of course, the next pranksters, knowing they will be shielded from any serious consequences and knowing they would become folk heroes, are aware that they have to surpass his prank. what is it going to be next year? driving a car into the dean's office? setting the stadium seats on fire?
Posted by A Love Supreme, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Jun 14, 2007 at 8:46 am
I just want to clarify that the girl is not my daughter. Her parents are friends of mine. Her father had told me that after repeated questions, she admitted to him that she considered Marchant and his crowd to be infantile jerks. I mentioned that she was an agnostic/atheist in order to make sure people understood that she isn't doing her volunteer work in Africa for any ulterior motive or hidden agendas:she doesn't want to convert anybody(she hates religion), nor did she mention it on her college application. BTW, she never even told her peers that she has been working during the last 4 summers in an orphanage in Africa. This to me is what being cool is all about, not drawing attention to your own infantile idiocy.
Posted by Curious, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 14, 2007 at 8:48 am
Knowing the school rivalries, I am just wondering what has been going on in the Gunn community while all this focus on Paly. I am sure that they feel outdone and I am a little concerned about what their plans for next year may be!!
Posted by Glad to be gone, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jun 14, 2007 at 1:22 pm
Paly DID up the security; the principal especially upped it during the last few weeks to prevent the pranks. The sad thing, is, however, that the security was hanging out in the BACK parking lot, while the car entered in the FRONT.
and NOBODY said the prank was cool. You immature adults that are not connected with the high schools in ANY way put that in our mouths, and I for one feel ashamed for you for making that assumption
Posted by A Love Supreme, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Jun 14, 2007 at 2:58 pm
my impression from reading many of the comments by paly parents was that although they didn't use the word 'cool', you could read between the lines that many thought it and almost all implied that marchant was a cool and nice kid who didn't really deserve to be punished. it seems like the bar for being a jerk is really high for this current crop of parents in shallow alto. i suppose a high-schooler needs to deal heroin, torture animals and beat up his parents to qualify. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Midtown Mom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 15, 2007 at 8:36 pm
I asked because, having had a teenager myself, who by the way has never pulled off a stupid prank like this one, or even anything remotely similar, I know that teenagers are still CHILDREN, that do make mistakes. I further think that throwing a felony at them for so little damage is an overreaction that may have life-long negative consequences for them, and that it is totally disproportionate with the offense.
Posted by paly junior, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jun 16, 2007 at 11:13 pm
Those who believe that Marchant's punishment was too weak are quick to assume that those who find the punishment over the top think the prank was funny, innovative, or cool. It's just about responding rationally to a situation. He could have used the old car in a more constructive way. He could have been hurt in the process. However, the fact remains that nobody was hurt and there is no corporate punishment for materialism, wastefulness, or a limited world perspective.
To those arguing whether Marchant is a good person or not and to the person who described the volunteering agnostic: it really does not matter. Marchant is not being punished for his personality but for the action. Whether he is a kind person who did something dumb as a senior prank or an immature popularity-based kid who was fitting in with that facade is simply irrelevant.
I also don't think it's horrible that he accepted to take all the blame beforehand, except that it does put an unfair toll on his family. From a teenage perspective, it's a very teenage plan of action: assume you won't get caught, but if you do, better to just let one person take the fall: the dude whose car it is. Yes, it was inconsiderate to the family and not a super plan, but it was neither terrible nor atypical.
Posted by Garin, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jun 17, 2007 at 3:58 pm
"I know that teenagers are still CHILDREN, that do make mistakes. I further think that throwing a felony at them for so little damage is an overreaction that may have life-long negative consequences for them, and that it is totally disproportionate with the offense."
This may come as a shock to you, but 18 year-old individuals are ADULTS, not children. If you are raising your kid(s) to think otherwise, he/she/they are in for a rude awakening.
I have three kids, two boys and a girl. They are all in their middle- to late- twenties now. My middle kid, as a 19 year old, got into some trouble with the cops. He thought it was a trivial thing and a joke. Turns out that not everybody shared his opinion. He got charged with a low grade felony. He wanted me to "get me out of this, Dad". I said, "No, you reap what you sew". He had a simple deal to make: Give up the names of his buddies (aka co-conspirators) . He resisted for three days, while he was in jail, then he cracked. He also had to agree to tesitfy against them. In the end they all pled to misdeamenors (deal with the DA), but he got off with time served and a fine; his buddies each got six weeks in jail, along with fines. His "friends" called him a snitch, and dumped him...and he dumped them! He is now in a good forward path, and his buddies have been in and out of jail. BTW, I never hired a lawyer to defend him - it was just a public defender that he had to agree to (as an ADULT). He has since thanked me for teaching him a hard lesson. We are very close.
Moral of this story: ADULTS must take responsibility for their actions. If an adult is expected to cover for other adults and/or kids, then he will be held accountable for the entire deal. That is wrong, at all levels. No real lessons learned....
Posted by Disappointed in all of you, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jun 21, 2007 at 9:11 am
Come on people! This is none of your business, and if any of your kids were involved in it, you shouldn't be wasting your time fighting about it here.
People are always going to debate about pointless things, it's just human nature. But can we please take all of this negative energy and put it towards solving world hunger or something? At least that's something your arguments could actually affect in the long run. Blaine's punishment is not up to the community, and all this pointless arguing is just that. Pointless.