Town Square

Blaine Marchant 'can join graduation events'

Original post made on Jun 10, 2007

Blaine Marchant, who parked his trashed, graffiti-sprayed Volvo upside down on a wooden deck in Palo Alto High School's quad last week, can join graduation ceremonies, according to Palo Alto school officials.

  • Paly student may also face discipline for car prank

  • Paly student arrested for parking -- upside down

    Read the full story here Web Link
  • Comments

    Posted by Paly teacher, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 10, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Shameful decision. Dither on the felony and eventually let it slide to misdemeanor; negotiate on the reparations, no problem. But letting this kid walk in graduation implies, underlines and cements the idea that there are no real consequences for Palo Alto kids.

    He'll pay the misdemeanor fine, his friends will pay for the damage, and the ultimate message will be to encourage others that consequences aren't real, that if you have money you can buy your way out of any misbehavior. That's because the one thing that usually can't be bought in a situation like this is being able to walk at graduation.

    Nobody expected the felony charge to stick. But for an unapologetic kid who conspired with a dozen cowards, who as a group snuck onto campus to commit this mischief in the dead of night, who as a group failed to step forward with their friend to take responsibility for their actions, this sets a terrible precedent.

    The school should be demonstrating flexibility on the negotiables; walking across the stage should not be negotiable.

    Posted by i dont get it, a resident of Charleston Gardens
    on Jun 10, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Why is there such a push to see the other perpatrators step forward? Blaine knew what he was getting into and is completely fine with taking the blame, it was his plan and his ineciative that got this thing rolling. There is no magical reward awarded to the other participants only thing they will get is some punishment. How is staying out of trouble being considered cowardly? Please i really want to know. What would these kids have to gain by turning themselves in?

    Posted by 2007palyparent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
    on Jun 10, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I'm sorry, Paly teacher, but I completely disagree. This should have been handled internally in the first place - the police should never have been involved. The "stiffness" of your response is exactly what "Sad parent" is talking about on another strand on PA Online. Since senior pranks are part of the fabric of high school, they're going to happen. Surely the administrators involved have been here long enough to have dealt with this more than 40 times over the past 20 years. However, if kids are going to do something silly like putting a car upside down that doesn't hurt anyone, then so be it. Sure, let him (and his buddies) do substantial service hours on the campus, but to deny him walking at graduation after 4 years of hard work? Pulease! That's just ridiculous. It's not as if he didn't do the work, and letting one juvenile lapse of judgement forever color his high school experience is just unnecessary.

    Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 10, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    I think this was the right decision.

    If this hadn't been done then we would all be guilty in playing into Blaine and his cronies' hands. We would have had protest wig wearing and the like spoiling the event for everyone else and making him into a bigger cult hero than he already is.

    Instead, we should be making sure that his infamy is forgotten. Let him do his community service, we should know what his service is and it should be known that it is hard work!! Maybe then, we can get next year's seniors to be wary of trying to out do him, because at present they only have fuel to get a bigger and better prank thought through for next year.

    Posted by advisor, a resident of Gunn High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:33 am

    All schools should warn the seniors about what they can and cannot do for senior prank. The warning should include consequences to pranks that result in misdemeanor or felony crime. Kids are kids, even at age 17 or 18. They don't have a clue but just want to be cool. Schools shouldn't decide on the punishment *after* the fact. They should let the kids know *before* and also send the same warning to the parents.

    Posted by bob, a resident of College Terrace
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 8:55 am

    people are missing the point. what marchant has done didn't cause any injuries or serious loss to property which is good. remember though that the graffiti he and his friends sprayed on the car eluded to ecstasy, aka the date rape drug. i believe that the message kids like him are getting from his supporters and those who say we should have a sense of humor about his actions is that breaking rules and even laws are ok as long as the ones breaking them are considered cool and the violations are 'funny'. many criminals who come from privileged families ended started out with pranks that were condoned by their environment as cool and harmless and the message they perceived was that things they do don't have consequences. i am concerned more about his next pranks and violations, not about this one. i know of too many upper middle class kids like him who perceived the favorable reactions to their pranks as a green light to do whatever they please because they are cool. in many cases, it progressed to date rapes and other violations. not knowing marchant i can't determine what he's capable of, but i certainly know the message he's getting.

    Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 12:48 pm are right. all else aside,are ignoring the message sprayed on the car. unfortunately, many in our community are under the impression drugs are not a big deal in our community. those who think this is just slang for this or that. better wake up and smell the roses. stop closing your eyes. it does exist and it is more prevelant than we wish to admit. it is cheap and easy to get. it is in palo alto, used by palo alto students and supplied by palo alto students who are residents of palo alto.

    Posted by Paly Teacher Too, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    1) Paly students do receive exactly the kind of warning that "advisor" suggests. Indeed, in senior advisory at Paly, students received a glossy pamphlet from the police about how things change once you turn 18; they also have had multiple warnings about warnings and consequences in the Daily Bulletin and on InFocus, the school's broadcast journalism show. Students shouldn't plead ignorance of the rules (laws) after the fact.

    2) For those of you who suggest community service should be the only punishment here, if we follow your logic, the new published district rule should be: "Community service will be the only consequence for senior pranks." Good luck having that work as a deterrent.

    Posted by mariner, a resident of College Terrace
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    more than a few college, and probably high school kids, think that date rape after slipping ecstasy into a girl's drink is cool. it is my understanding that marchant and his friends had spray painted graffiti on his car that is related to the ecstasy, aka the date rape drug. somehow i don't get the impression that marchant and his cronies are these authority questioning, benign fun loving, innocent prank pulling 18 year olds. i am extremely disappointed of the blanket support he seems to be getting from paly parents, although the total support from his peers is very predictable. at best, this prank has been a highly unfunney and narcissist act by a spoiled youth craving attention. hopefully he will not go any further. sadly, since he has gotten so much support from adults and peers, i doubt that very much.

    Posted by Sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    flipping over a car in a public area and spray painting it with drug related graffiti would be considered gang activity in east palo alto or oakland. in 'cool' palo alto, it's perceived by parents and peers as hilarious and cool. the dean, principal and teachers are of course uncool and lacking any sense of humor for not getting the joke.

    Posted by neighbor and parent, a resident of University South
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    A brief correction and a comment:

    Ecstasy causes heightened physical sensitivity and often acts as an aphrodisiac, but it is generally not considered a "date rape" drug. (GHB and Rohypnol are the "date rape" drugs.) For further information, you might take a look at Web Link and other such resources.

    With regard to the propriety of Mr. Marchant's punishment, I would encourage readers (and particularly the Paly teachers) to consider whether they would demand such strict punishment if Mr. Marchant had instead been a 22-year-old who overturned his car in city hall plaza and spray-pained "Stop Global Warming!" on the side, or the like. I submit that they would not. (Moreover, I don't think this prank would have caused any such hand-wringing in East Palo Alto or Oakland, contrary to another poster's suggestion.) My point: It seems to me that while some of the posters demand that Mr. Marchant be punished like an adult, what they really want is for Blaine to be disciplined like a child.

    I realize that it can be hard to discern where the line lies between benignly blowing off steam and dangerously devolving into delinquency, but it seems to me that Mr. Marchant actually thought quite carefully about designing a prank that would exemplify senior-class spirit without hurting anyone. To me, that suggests that Mr. Marchant is well aware that there are consequences for his actions (both for him, and more importantly, for others). Sure, the pessimists may rant that Mr. Marchant is a spoiled kid who cares little about the effect of his actions on others, but I don't think the facts of this case bear that out.

    Posted by 2006 Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Seniors and drugs - Spirit week for the senior class 2006 included selling t shirts with a pun about drugs. As soon as they were banned, they became popular. I was told that by my daughter that the boy who designed the t shirts wasn't interested in drugs, just doing something to get noticed and noticed he did. He was amazed at how well the t shirts sold and had to make more. According to my daughter it was wearing something that was causing a fuss that was the attraction, not what it was supposedly promoting. She, like her all her friends, had to buy a t shirt and wore it once. It is now collecting dust in the back of her closet, but it is one of her cherished high school memories.

    Just because slogans were painted on the car does not mean that these kids were using drugs. All they were doing was looking for a statement that would cause a fuss. They got what they wanted and then some. They are not condoning drug use. They are just jumping on the teen bandwagon and letting off steam before they leave high school.

    I used to hear a motto of the eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not assume" and this is definitely what should be the case here. I am not saying that there are no drugs in Palo Alto, I wouldn't be so naive. What I am saying, is that there is a coolness in pretending what you would never actually do, and displaying that here is what passes for cool.

    Posted by bob, a resident of Community Center
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    whatever these kids are, they certainly aren't cool. myuself and my peers were about marchant's age during the vietnam war and the pranks we pulled had a message that was anti the government that was conducting that criminal war. we used humor and creativity but it was also life affirming, because we actually cared about something and wanted to help stop the war. these kids are just so self absorbed and don't seem to care enough about at least voicing their opinions about the iraq war. most likely, they don't have opinions about it and can't be bothered to express any, be it through pranks. this was comletely about marchant:'everybody, especially pretty babes, see how cool i am'. i agree that he probably shouldn't face felony charges, but please, adults, give me a break, he is anything but cool.

    Posted by Bill, a resident of Midtown
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 6:41 pm


    Your Vietnam era self-described heroics completely ignores the fact that MILLIONS of SE Asians were murdered by Ho and his communist buddies. You and yours were COMPLETELY silent about that small detail. Nevertheless, those bodies are there in the ground. Your stuff was NOT life affirming.

    I have an admission: I was there with you at the time. Yes, I mean in protest riots, sit-ins, etc. I am now ashamed of what I did.

    I am glad that Blaine and his buddies were just silly and stupid - not immoral.

    Posted by bob, a resident of Community Center
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    yes, bill, i know. what we are doing now in iraq is so moral and you must feel very righteous supporting it. the fact today's kids could care less about the slaughter house called iraq which we have created and the fact that at home we are losing our liberties also give me great hope. when those kids turn 25 we may live in virtual fascism, but they wouldn't even know it, because they are so incredibly clueless. but that will probably suit you just fine.

    Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    2006 Paly Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community...Some do it just to get attention, some project the image to look cool, some do it and can keep it together and there are others who do it and loose so much along. When your child is lost to you, and the pain is so deep that your body aches day and night, then let us see how cool you think it is.

    Posted by Sarlat, a resident of Crescent Park
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    2006 Paly Parent-"there is a coolness in pretending what you would never actually do, and displaying that here is what passes for cool". How would you know what this kid would actually do or not do? Kids from priviledge backrounds who were considered of great character have committed some terrible things, including rape, just because they thought they could get away with it. Why did they think that? because they got away with doing "trivial cool and silly" stuff, which creates a certain state of mind that everything is permissible because nothing has consequences. I believe that the Paly parents who are so "cool" with what this kid has done are so jaded and dead inside, they can't feel outrage about anything, unless it's some other driver cutting them off when they drive their Lexus LX 470.

    Posted by 2006 Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Excuse me

    I am not condoning what was done and I definitely don't think it was cool. I am just saying that teenagers think differently to what we think and expect. Sometimes their actions are far from their motives and their motives are far from what they would be if it was adults we were talking about. We are talking about immature teenagers, not experienced adults and the fact that an 18 year may be considered an adult by law has nothing to do with it. These kids are protected all their lives, either by parents who keep an eye on them or by their parents fat wallets and lawyers. As soon as they turn 18 they are expected magically overnight to be mature and act as adults. These are kids and are acting as kids. They want to be cool and being cool is a definition that changes as quickly as some of them change their underwear. I can remember what it was like being 18 and I wouldn't want to go back. I am not protecting them, I just want everyone to realise that just because a teenager is projecting an image of himself, it does not mean that it is the Real McCoy.

    I have no idea what Blaine's family is doing in all this. I expect that this is a lesson to them and many other parents too.

    And to Sarlat, No, I do not know what the kid would actually do. The point is neither does anyone writing on this forum and so let me say to all, do not judge, lest you be judged. Writing on the car may or may not be an indication of what may happen in the future. The writing on the wall is that next year we may see something even more outrageous. What surprises me more than anything is that there hasn't been a fool from Gunn trying to outdo this.

    Posted by Bill, a resident of Midtown
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 7:32 pm


    Yes the current generation is fairly clueless. But our generation was under the pressure of the draft. We were not moral. As soon as the draft ended, the protests died down. Those who remained were not clueless, just immoral.

    Iraq could go either way, but yes I think it is a moral battle. The vast majority of Iraqis want freedom. They are under the thumb of fanatics almost as bad as Ho and his buddies.

    It doesn't bother me, a bit, that local high school kids are clueless. Much better than being pawns of fascists and collectivists - and mass murder.

    Posted by 2006 Parent, too, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 11, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    I'm amazed at how quick some adults are to assume the worst in others, and how smug they are when doing so - as though they take pleasure in finding probable faults. What kind of example does this set for the next generation?

    2006 Paly Parent described last year's t-shirt selling quite accurately. We've got a dusty one in our closet, too, and my kids aren't into drugs, drinking, date rape or any of the other things that people here are broad-stroking these teenagers with. Sarlat, I'm feeling quite alive and well inside, and generally trusting of the future generation, too. Can't you look at them as the individuals they are? Not all of them are perfect; not all are rotten, up-to-no-good spoiled brats either.

    p.s. Bob, I doubt your opinion of what 'cool' is matters much to them. They're a pretty independent bunch who aren't looking for the approval of people like you.

    Posted by bob, a resident of Community Center
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 8:47 am

    bill, obviously, carpet bombing n.vietnam and killing 2-3 million civilians isn't considered by your ilk as fascist and immoral, since it was done by the usa and we are always so moral. the only generation i find even more clueless than the present one is those who grew up in the 60's, were against vietnam and became neoconservatives under reagan. we are now the most despised country in the world [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

    Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I think there was a generation that was pretty clueless in the late 30s and 1940 when the rest of the world was gearing up for war and the US thought they could stay out of it. Pearl Harbour happened and suddenly things changed, but if ........

    Posted by Bill, a resident of Midtown
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 11:27 am


    This current crop is not so clueless as to misunderstand the difference betwwen fighting to prevent aggression (e.g. Vietnam, Korea)) and or wars of true liberation (Iraq, Germany) vs. wars of conquest. I am willing to bet that this generation, if presented with details of the killing fields in Cambodia, would declare it evil. You and yours, Bob, failed to do so. In fact, some of you called it all a CIA disinformation operation. It was this failure to confront reality that turned me into a neoconservative.

    Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Palo Verde
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    [Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

    Posted by Jon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    I am appalled that a teacher at my school would take such a hard line against Blaine, however stupid, uncreative, dangerous it was. Blaine should learn his lesson by paying financially (and everyone who was part of it should chip in), and that should set enough of a precedence to other students that damaging pranks won't be tolerated. The diploma should not be tied to action that has not even been determined by a court of law to be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

    I cannot believe an educator would because of a senior prank would choose to deprive a student of his diploma. This compromise does not show the weakness of our administration to deal with some action (hes still being charged), but rather points out the administrators have hearts, and aren't out to pulverize Blaine's future over a prank.

    What is the alternative? To bar him and create an uproar? Do you understand the ramifications of taking an even more hard line stance than what the administration has already had?

    Posted by Jon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 12, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    And still the Palo Alto Online Admins have either IGNORED or REFUSED to state the nature and reason of why they censor posts. It is immature and even if done in the most ethical way, it smells of Big Brotherism.

    GROW UP ADMINS! Ever heard of free speech? Fine you dont want an absolute, at least tell readers WHY YOU ARE VIOLATING OUR RIGHT TO EXPRESS OURSELVES.

    shame shame shame shame shame shame shame!

    (watch as this post gets censored as well)

    Posted by bob, a resident of Community Center
    on Jun 13, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    [Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

    Posted by Bill, a resident of Midtown
    on Jun 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    [Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

    Posted by Mayfield Child, a resident of Green Acres
    on Jun 13, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    To: "I don't get it"....Get this..left unchecked, the other "silent" partners were thinking it was cool to participate...Think our prison system has fellows incarcerated with a charge of "conspiracy" on their papers...A lot of them are in the Federal pen doing time for white collar crimes..(conspiracy being biggest one of them..) (p)Those crimes are usually for the "upper class" crooks...........True. (p)

    Posted by Mayfield Child, a resident of Green Acres
    on Jun 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Addressing the one comment..."there is a coolness in pretending what you would never actually do, and displaying that here is what passes for cool." What IF, in the progress of this "prank", the car rolled over and crushed one of the students little head and he/she died as the result of this.........hooo, boy,that would have been ugly...THEN all of the night stalkers would be sitting in prison as you read this. (p) Sure would have liked to see Blaine donate that car before he destroyed it by giving to some under privedgled person who could have used it..maybe he should do some community time working with the financially strapped people in the community.. (yes, there are a few left here in Palo Alto that could use help).(p)NOW THAT IS COOL......
    And the one uncalled for comment about waiting for some FOOL from Gunn to try to top this stunt....'ca mon, Paly Parent!!!! Your mentality is slipping!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by suckit, a resident of College Terrace
    on Jun 17, 2007 at 3:20 am

    to the person who suggests that blaine committed rape:
    you are the most redicluous person i have ever encountered. how dare you. blaine has never EVER done extasy, nor has he EVER raped a friggen girl. if anything they throw themselves on him. if you dont know about the situation dont suggest such things, its disgraceful and insulting, and makes you look like the complete idiot you are

    Posted by Forrest Gump, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 17, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Stupid is as stupid does, obviously if you think Blaine is a raper you should in the words of our most beloved Vice President, "go [expletive deleted] yourself"

    Posted by Forrest Gump, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 17, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    Stupid is as stupid does, obviously if you think Blaine is a raper you should in the words of our most beloved Vice President, "go [expletive deleted] yourself"

    Posted by 3, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 20, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    99% of the people responding to this story are complete and total idiots. I don't know if this has been said already (because i got tired of reading the ridiculous things written on this board) but the whole thizz or die thing is a reference to a bay area rapper/song. Blaine is not going to be date raping people because of this. You are all idiots for looking way too far into this

    Posted by Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
    on Jun 21, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Seriously. The adults in this community assume that us students do extacy, rape girls, and try to "be cool." Bob, nobody's going to listen to us if we protest the war, because it's ignorant people like you that would shut us down in the first place. Our generation has to step it up and think of bigger ways to protest, such as flipping a car. The problem with assuming all students are stupid, druggie rapists, is that we're not, and one day we're going to lead this country, and we'll be the deciders for YOUR health care. I just want you to think about that next time you decide to take out your anger at the world on us.

    That being said, I am seriously glad to have graduated and leave this town. I am also glad that Blaine graduated, he really deserved it, not because he flipped a car, but because he has spent the last 13 years preparing for it.

    Posted by anon., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
    on Jun 26, 2007 at 12:13 am

    leave this town-

    Get out while you still can.

    Run for your life!