Town Square

The senior prank saga is over...

Original post made on Jul 19, 2007

Blaine Marchant, the Palo Alto High School graduate who overturned his graffiti-covered car on campus as a senior prank, wants his criminal case dismissed and prosecutors won't object after Marchant settled with the school district, an official said today.

Read the full story here Web Link


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Alls well that ends well and Blaine has his place in Paly folklore.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2007 at 7:22 am

If he weren't rich...?

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 20, 2007 at 8:46 am

Joanne - he's not, not even close.

Posted by AJ, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2007 at 10:46 am

I have only one question, Does he belong to a minority group such as African American or Hispanic?

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:12 am

I met the kid last month at a function. GREAT KID, gald its over and he can move on with his life!

Posted by Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:24 am

I have concerns, when the principal clarified ahead of time to seniors that such behavior would not be tolerated...then it's tolerated (at least for those students with pull). We will need to be sure that if another student does makes a poor choice like this to do the wrong thing, s/he will receive equal treatment and be let off.

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:39 am

The student was not let off - nor was the prank tolerated. He was suspended from school and was required to pay restitution. Perhaps he should not have been allowed to participate in the year-end activities. These were all appropriate responses to a school prank.

This was a PAUSD matter, not a police matter. The main damage was to his own property (the car).

Posted by Spiky, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 20, 2007 at 1:07 pm

The property onto which young Marchant has flipped his car belongs to the residents of Palo Alto, since their property taxes sustain the PAUSD. In that sense, his actions are no different at all from flipping his car onto my front yard or yours and expecting us to just dig his coolness and not involve the police. This was not a "PAUSD matter, not a police matter", this was a criminal matter that needed the police and a criminal trial that was never going to take place in his case. Had he been a minority instead of a handsome white boy, he would probably be out on bail awaiting a criminal trial, and would've almost certainly been roughed up a bit while in custody. Being the golden boy that he is, he allowed others to pay restitution on his behalf, has become a folk hero and the object of longing sighs by leggy blond junior female students and all is well in Blaine's world.

Posted by nefertiti, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 20, 2007 at 2:17 pm

If someone managed to flip their graffiti sprayed car onto the lobby of the main library branch, I doubt that even one person would have demanded that the culprit not face criminal charges. In the "prank" case however, the hypocrisy and double standards scream to high heaven. This has been a case in which the snobbish, affluent crowd has closed ranks around one of their own and ensured that any real consequences for a felonious act of vandalism wouldn't occur. Next year, when any PAUSD administration warns students against pranks that cross certain lines, their authority in the eyes of the students will be zero, since the students will know damn well that there will be no real consequences to anything they might do.

Posted by Midtown guy, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2007 at 2:45 pm

Isn't it still a felony to file VIN numbers off a vehicle?

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Whether we like it or not, there is a culture that says graduating high school seniors do pranks. It started a long time ago and each year the idea is to outdo all others. There is no culture that says anything about pranks outside libraries. When one starts, the first to do it will be punished. After that, the pranksters know what to expect. It is the culture that has allowed pranks on high school campuses for time immemorial that has got him off, no other reason.

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2007 at 3:08 pm

After reading the numerous threads regarding this prank - I wonder a couple of things -

Would people be as upset if Blaine wasn't an attractive, popular guy? How many of these comments are purely jealousy?

Why does everyone assume that Blaine is rich? Don't any of you know someone who works for a living? Not everyone in PA has money.

Don't assume justice wasn't served - should the residents of Santa Clara County really have paid for a trial and jail time for $500 worth of damage?

Has most of PA never pulled a practical joke? A fairly harmless prank? TP'd a house? A few years ago some MIT students put a car - minus the engine - on the roof of a building. Should they have gone to jail for that or should they be out there being productive members of society.

Lighten up and put things in perspective. It was a prank. No one died, no one got sick, no one was hurt. It was wrong, but there will be more senior pranks next year all over the country ...

Posted by nefertiti, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm

What if I decided that flipping my old car onto your driveway was a funny prank and did it, would you agree to just laugh it off? What if I decided that since Blaine has already done it, I should also set it on fire to surpass his prank, would you laugh with me and at the uncool ones who would want me prosecuted?
I can assure you that as a woman, I'm not jealous of Blaine's fabulous looks. I am quite certain though, that had he been Black or Hispanic, instead of Caucasian, handsome and popular, he wouldn't have gotten off that easy. One last thing, filing off a vehicle VIN is against the law in California and never considered a prank- it's at least a misdemeanor, if not felony, and Blaine, officially an adult when he filed his VIN off, got away with that one as well. I wonder if Scooter started out like Blaine.

Posted by Da Costa, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2007 at 5:38 pm

The young man shouldn't have gone to jail for his crimes, which is really what his actions should've come under, but he got off too easy. He should've received a suspended sentence and done community service for a year-painting over graffiti, helping clean up garbage left in public parks, that sort of thing. As things stand, his arrogance and sense of entitlement have only received a boost and he has learned nothing.

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 20, 2007 at 5:57 pm


As far as Blaine's treatment - what if in this case, being popular led to more of a consequence rather than less? What if being handsome and well-liked made it more likely he would be used as an example? Aside from that, I'd like to believe the Paly community would have supported Blaine no matter what his race.

The very nature of senior/school related pranks is they are not aimed at an individual. That's what makes them fun - targeting an institution. I wouldn't like it if someone overturned a car in my driveway, but I'm an individual. If the car had been on Scott Laurence's driveway, I'd feel very differently about the prank.

Many adults were jealous of the "popular kids" when they were in HS and I feel some comments are a reflection of that. People are enjoying a bit of revenge on the popular kids. Time to grow up.

There are many HS and College related experiences that are relatively harmless and just part of the process - streaking, face painting the color of your school, decorating your car for a game, spilling candy on the floor of a dance, TPing someone's house. I'm not condoning the prank, I just feel it doesn't need a Presidential pardon.

Posted by judge judy, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 20, 2007 at 6:40 pm

the kid and his family settled; it was probably an expensive lesson, and most likely a hard lesson learned. i'm all for punishing hardened criminals and the many executive theives that have been stealing american's blind for years, but this kid? gimmie a break!

what should happen from now on is that it be known that property damage or extra work caused by a school prank will result in a dollar-for-dollar payback of damages, unless someone is injured. in the latter case, all bets are off...

Posted by Mark, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 20, 2007 at 8:22 pm

judge judy, give me a break. This kid didn't even have to spend a dime of his or his parents money. Someone in the know told me that so many of the "Paly community" have contributed money to his cause that he could use what is left to go to Europe for the rest of the summer if he was so inclined. It was not an "expensive lesson". It was a lesson that taught him that if you are white, handsome and popular, you can do anything you want and your peers would make sure that there are no consequences attached. And how many executive thieves or Scooter Libby types do you know that are languishing in jail?White, ppular influential guys are pretty much immune from jail in our society. Nobody wanted to see this kid go to jail, but he didn't even get his hand slapped and his actions had no consequences in the long run, unless you want to count becoming the object of desire by most PA adolescent girls as a punishment.

Posted by Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 20, 2007 at 9:05 pm

"revenge on the popular kids..." no, just calling it as we see it: the misbehavior sure seemed like that of a spoiled brat.

Posted by Daniel, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:36 pm

"revenge on the popular kids"-that's a new one. the poor attractive popular kids who are the victims of jealous, unattractive vindictive nerds. moving back to a non-infantile level-what blaine has learned from his experience is that actions have no consequences, because, being a popular and attractive member of the "In" crowd, he is protected by that crowd of peers and adults. his next prank might not be so benign, since young people who discovered that actions have no consequences rarely stop there.

Posted by joe, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 21, 2007 at 7:43 am

responses to comments above:

1) he is NOT handsome
2) do working people take a volvo, trash it, buy spray paint... ? How can we not assume he is not rich?
3) removing the vin is a felony
4) for someone who trashes a volvo, $500 is nothing. A slap on the wrist.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2007 at 8:06 am

Police time costs nothing? Did this teenager apologize to Palo Altans for having deliberately diverted police resources and compromised or delayed police's hability to help other citiziens?

Posted by Mark, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 21, 2007 at 8:43 am

to me, the worst aspect of this matter has been the massive support this kid received from the paly community, parents and kids alike. the arrogance and attitude of utter superiority by which the popular lad is protected by his social class from the inferior riffraff trying to get at him for a clever prank his superior and aristocratic bearing entitled him to commit. not one of his protectors ever wondered why he never considered donating his old volvo to some poor soul who can't afford even a $500 car and has to commute to their miserable job by bus. this kid didn't even get his wrist slapped. his fans payed the restitution and he has become a legend, more popular then ever. hell, in his eyes, this is the best thing that has ever happened to him, more to follow very likely.

Posted by nefertiti, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 21, 2007 at 10:17 am

Our society has payed dearly by allowing a spoiled brat ala Marchant to grow up committing stupid in your face pranks without ever having to face the music for it-case in point:George W Bush.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 21, 2007 at 11:25 am

Police time was wasted because the Paly principal decided to call them. Blaine turned himself in to Scott Laurence. Because of the over reaction of Mr. Laurence, Blaine decided not to turn in anyone else (who perhaps contributed $$ to the restitution). The comments about the vindictive nerds getting revenge on the popular kids makes me think that PA mom was right, a lot of adults are stuck in HS...

If you are handsome and popular, life is sometimes easier - its not fair, just life.

Posted by glen, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Let's get one thing straight here. Flipping over a car over(even your own) and spray painting it with a reference to a dangerous drug isn't a prank. Filing off a VIN isn't a prank, it's a felony. What this kid has done smacks of latent rage and simmering violence ready to explode. Mixed with deep arrogance it's a very dangerous combination. Letting him off the hook with nary a slap on the wrist is a huge mistake. His supporters are obnoxious, pampered and self absorbed jerks. Enough said.

Posted by accused, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2007 at 12:20 pm

i was accused of something i didnt do and was taken to JAIL! i am not ''white''. PAPD are racist , whether you want to believe that or not

Posted by Amy, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2007 at 12:32 pm

This seems to be a very unhappy town. Now that MI is off the board, you feel the need to vent your wrath on a kid who's actions took place a long time ago. Move on.

When my son was in 6th grade, he shoplifted. The police called me to the store. They asked me if I would handle it, I asured them that I would. The cost of the stuff, which he gave back, was $36. He then did 36 hours of community service. We gave him a book to keep track of his time, and to get signed off by whoever was in charge. I guess it worked, we never had trouble again.

Posted by glen, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2007 at 12:35 pm

Oh yes, accused, I'm a white male, but I know exactly what you're talking about. I see almost daily people of color pulled over by police in PA, although they were not speeding, running red lights or doing anything wrong, while spoiled brats like Marchant are immune. If Marchant had been of color, he would probably be faicng criminal charges right now.

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 21, 2007 at 1:41 pm

I have been pulled over several times in PA. I am white. I am male. About half the time, the cops were non-white. Only once did I get a ticket, at a speed trap on Hanover hill, near HP. The vast majority of people I see pulled over are white, in PA.

If I see a white person being pulled over by a non-white cop, should I think "racism in action"? If the cop is female and the stop is male, should I think "sexism"? If the cop is female and black, and the stop is white and male, should I think "racist and sexist"?

I got stopped in EPA about three years ago. Nothing wrong, just that a white cop in EPA wanted to know what a white guy was doing there at 9 PM. I explained that I was at a friend's house for dinner. He wished me well, and sent me on my way. Racist? Probably, but he was trying to keep the lid on.

OK, I asked some distorted questions. Here's what I think:

There probably ARE some feelings of race (hell if I know, for sure), but the stops were for suspected violations or preventative policing. The latter may not be Consitutional, but it does seem to work, preventing many potential consequences that are much worse than the stop, per se.

BTW, how did this thread on a HS caper turn into a racist rant?

I DO think the kid in question was let off too lightly, but to bump it up into something bigger is unwarranted.


Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2007 at 2:25 pm


6th grade is not 12th grade. He is an adult . The immaturity and arrogance of Blaine and his supporters is obvious. I agree with Glen, but let me say to

Palo alto mom, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood

Clearly, B.M. didn't want anybody including the police to find out the car was his if they had come across the scene off school hours, and he was slimy to erase the VIN number. What is that called in the law?
Mr. Laurence in the course of his fiduciary duties was quite right to call police. Blaine is an adult who could have been employing his energies in a productive way but decided that to show off is a fine way to gain respect and show smarts. That stays with him and I hope he never asks me for a job. He would be denied on the grounds of lack of judgement, disonesty, too much self importance and perhaps just stupidity. Mind you not as much as the adults sorrounding him show by not guiding him on the ways to gain respect, the propieties of life and the deliverance of apologies.

Granted, we don't need him in jail but the "punishement" doesn't meet the crime.

Posted by Maicon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 21, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Amy, guess what? B.M won't even do the 36 hours of community service that your son had done when in 6th grade. He won't be doing even 36 minutes of community service. Actually, he gives the community the finger, and the only people more arrogant, stupid and bratty than him are the many adults who have supported him and made it virtually impossible for the authorities to actually make him face any consequences for his arrogant idiocy.

Posted by Da Costa, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2007 at 3:45 pm

If Scooter isn't going to spend any times in jail, Marchant shouldn't either, although I believe that a few weeks in a county jail would have toned down his arrogance, but maybe not.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2007 at 5:23 pm

I have said it before and will say it again. 18 is too young to be called an adult. Bring back the age of consent to 21. If they are not old enough to drink alcohol at 18 then they are not old enough to be treated as adults, as this whole saga has proved.

Research in various places shows that a teenagers brain make up is still irrational and that 18 year olds do not use their brains to make rational decisions. This is particularly in regard to hazardous behavior. This means that driving at 16 is also too young.

Posted by Da Costa, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2007 at 6:22 pm

"If they are not old enough to drink alcohol at 18 then they are not old enough to be treated as adults"
Except they do drink alcohol at 18, 17, 15, 14, sometime even younger, and they are smart enough to find ways to get it, I'm sure that Marchant would be glad to tell you about his system of getting his hands on booze. You are spot on regarding driving, 16 year olds shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the drivers seat of a car.
Some teenager brains make rational decisions, some don't. A lot of it has to do with how their parents and environment treat them. When they are pampered, spoiled or worshiped because of their popularity and looks, they tend to be immature and make stupid decisions, like in this case.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2007 at 6:28 pm

To Parent:

Well, if that is true (and partially it is) then that's why we have parents.They should teach that when we have done something that intentionally harms the community, we should assume responsability.

BM clearly knew he was doing harm and he was intent on it- how else explain the erasing of the VIN numbers except to make school officials and police waste time and resources?

It is good to teach children in their own interest that this kind of bragaddocio may not be amusing too many and has social if not legal consequences. It may seem to B.M. that he and his friends are the setters of acceptable social norm and trend but when they have to interact with the wider world their glow will dissipate fast. Boorish behavior is seldom tolerated gladly (except by those who emulate it).

What is missing here is an acceptable penalty and a sincere apology.

His parents would serve him well by explaining that a heartfelt apology goes a long long way to dispel uncomfortable situations. Neighborliness is what he owes to the people of Palo Alto because they have supported his schooling , the infrastructures (both physical and emotional) he uses everyday. If he is capable of doing something as difficult as a humble apology then I bet that we would all forget about his untowardly behavior and cheer him for that. And remember him with warm thoughts.

Posted by Da Costa, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Sohill, Your words are very ineloquent and right on the money. It's obvious that B.M feels no remorse and has no intention of apologizing to anybody. If you read his supporters, all they do is put down his detractors as uncool. It's obvious they consider them to be unfit to belong in their elevated class of "The Paly community that supports our Blaine, the super-cool kid". These people "help" him be so full of himself and so certain he hasn't done anything wrong, so it's doubtful he'll ever think that he has done anything wrong. They only reinforce his ego.

Posted by trudy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2007 at 12:26 pm

You people need to lighten up. The MIT car on the roof prank lives in MIT history and even the head of the Institute and campus security thought it was funny.

And putting a turned over car in a public place is not the same as putting it in someone's driveway, as you own driveway people know. What's got your knickers in a twist? A kid being lighthearted?

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2007 at 1:17 pm


Please check the facts. Here is MIT 's prank:
Web Link

This MIT "prank: there was NO CAR on the great dome roof .

DIdn't damage ANYTHING.

Didn't erase any VIN numbers.

Was of DIFFICULT EXECUTION ( an accomplishment ).

The prank ITSELF was the object of admiration, NOT those who did it.

Pleople wondered "HOW DID THEY DO THIS?" (the "car" on the roof was an object of WONDER, not anything that a group of people could do just for the sake of making themselves admired). MIT's "car" on the Great Dome was an interesting engineering experience. The BM&company prank didn't require more than brute force. Nothing to be admired here ( that's besides the fact that BM is not getting into MIT).

"What's got your knickers in a twist?" you ask

Nothing actually, I have no emotional stake in this prank. I am neither upset nor angry. But, of course I have opinions both as a mother (my youngster will be a freshman in one of the IVY league schools this fall ), a taxpayer and a great admirer of the principle that we should all be treated by the law the same manner as to guaranty justice. Expressing coherent thoughts about it this matter without being attacked ad hominem is the stated goal of these forums. Let's keep it that way. Therefore, I would ask you to please address the substance of the argument not "what got into other people's knickers".

Posted by Midtown Me, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Welcome to the "OC" of Northern California--
Perfect Palo Alto!

Posted by paly student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 22, 2007 at 7:10 pm

this is ridiculous
blaine didn't get off easy - he now has to live with people like you who don't even know him discussing his personal business

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 22, 2007 at 7:48 pm

This has brought us around to another problem. What makes a particular student popular? Is it personality, looks, or something else. Just because someone is white and good looking does not automatically make them popular. Sometimes the popular people are the ones who fit into no particular stereotype.

I have no idea about whether Blaine was popular or not. Certainly he had some cronies, but then so do many who are not popular. Was he the ringleader in this group or not? I have no idea. It was definitely his car that was used, but whether he was the leader or a pawn is not clear. He definitely owned up when it was clear that he was getting into hot water. But his keeping quiet about his accomplices does not mean that he was being the fall guy, it may have just meant that he was afraid of what may happen to him if he did squeal. He may have felt that the consequences of telling on his so called friends would have been worse than the trouble from the police. This is teenage logic we are talking about

From my school days, I know that if something like this had happened, it would have been more like a lesser member of the "in"crowd who had been watching from the sidelines was suddenly drawn in because of the availability of his property (e.g. his car) for a prank like this. Without realising it, his car was used and taken over by a crowd who started making the prank ten times worse than originally planned with the inclusion of graffiti and perhaps the vin number removal. Instead of the true culprits getting the blame, the only person caught was the one who had the obvious reason for being caught, the legal owner of the vehicle. The real culprits could be laughing all over their faces and completely scott free.

Now I have no idea if the above mentioned scenario is true, it is just something that has never really been made clear. I think it is very possible that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. I think the fact that Blaine nor his parents have said anything publicly shows that they are unwilling to enter into a public debate or conflict further and we can only surmise the reason.

You may ask why I am putting this scenario out at all. The answer is simply this. I remember what it was like to be drawn into the wrong crowd at school. I also know that sometimes the wrong person gets the blame and there is very little that can be done about it.

Since we have no evidence to the contrary, lets give Blaine the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps next time he gets involved in something he will remember this and will have learnt his lesson.

And if there are others out there who are more to blame, then I hope you get your comeuppance next time you let some poor lesser individual take the blame.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Blaine's business is not personal. HE made it public. He is an adult. His actions are his. If he got in with the wrong crowd certainly that happens to many people, for example gang members. They are still responsible for the actions atributed to them.

We can all sympathize with the shennenigans of youth but we seem to choose who we are charitable with...

Blaine doesn't need or want the benefit of the doubt. He was counseled by a good lawyer was he not? . He admited to his actions.

Please stop the excuses and far fetched scenarios or let's excuse all and sundry because they've fallen in with the wrong crowd.

This type of thinking would preclude any action against anybody since we really never know all there is to know about somebody .

Posted by Student, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2007 at 1:06 am

As I see it, this prank was just NOT that big a deal. It didn't endanger anyone, it didn't, as others have pointed out, target any individual - and the property damage was pretty minimal. Was it funny or clever or cool? Absolutely not. Judging from this prank, the kid's an idiot. But I don't think this needed to be pursued in the criminal courts, and I'd say the same even if he weren't white or popular or whatever. He should certainly pay for the damage to school property, and should probably pay some compensation for the police's and administrators' time. And let me tell you, if this were my kid, I'd make sure he personally was out the amount of the damage he caused. But I'm sure the court system has plenty to do without wasting its time on moronic, sophomoric pranks like this one.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2007 at 3:14 am

I agree with Student. I think that people were incensed both because he seemingly was better treated than others who do comparable deeds and because of the arrogance perceived in the way he and his "cool" crowd behaved afterwards.

Posted by glen, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2007 at 9:37 am

!8 year olds are deemed by our society to be mature enough to fight and die in places loke Iraq and Afghanistan, but a white well connected 18 year old from Palo Alto is deemed by his cronies and fans to be too immature to face the music for breaking the law? The fact that the real damage to property his stupid actions have caused was small is immaterial and hypocritical. If I ran a red light and didn't kill anybody should it mean I shouldn't get a citation? If the act of filing off a VIN is considered a felony in California, what exactly exempted B.M from being prosecuted for it, when the law considers him to be an adult? His defenders keep claiming that the damage his actions have caused was not serious, ignoring the fact that this debate is not about damage to property but about the very sad situation in our society where if you belong to a certain class and have the right connections, you can get away with just about anything. Nobody suggested that B.M should go to jail, but why wasn't he forced to perform community service, why wasn't he forced, let alone volunteer, to apologize? Why does he seem, from accounts of people who know him, to be totally self-satisfied and proud of his actions, not experiencing anything remotely close to remorse and not offering to perform any kind of community service?

Posted by Da Costa, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 23, 2007 at 10:04 am

It is not up to Blaine Marchant or his fans to decide when a law breaking prank is "cool" and therefore should be exempt from legal consequences. The school ground onto which he flipped his graffiti sprayed car wasn't his private property and what he did constituted a crime. His attempt to remove his VIN was a felony that can't be exempt from legal prosecution, since others who have done the same have faced prosecution and legal consequences, even jail time. People, especially young adults like him whose "small" transgressions are not punished, often move on to commit bigger, much more serious and dangerous transgressions, precisely because they didn't have to face any serious consequences when their transgressions were relatively minor. Should he have gone to jail?probably not, but a suspended sentence and a year of community service would've been very appropriate.

Posted by Deko, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2007 at 11:08 am

in essence, their 3 things that prevent young people from committing serious crimes as they grow older:1.the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and know what lines should never be crossed. 2.the ability of their friends and family to frown upon, disapprove and criticize them when they can't seem to tell right from wrong. 3. force them to pay a price that is both not devastating but considerable enough to serve as a deterrence against future and more serious transgressions.
unfortunately, i see a complete failure on all 3 fronts far as i can tell he doesn't seem to think that there's anything wrong in what he did. to the best of my knowledge his family, friends and acquaintances seem to support what he did and for all intent and purposes, he didn't have to pay any price for his actions and even the insignificant restitution he ended up having to pay was apparently payed by his friends and cronies.
i don't know what the future holds for this guy, but he certainly has not received a message that making stupid decisions and crossing lines have serious consequences.

Posted by paly parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2007 at 11:58 am

i was told that b.m wouldn't divulge the names of his accomplices because he was told what would happen to his face and other parts of his body if he did. personally hate pranks and pranksters. pranksters are always self absorbed jerks who want to show off and draw attention to themself. whether its deflating another student's tires, pouring honey on their hair and down their shirt, painting somebody's seat with crazy glue before they sit down, the pranksters and their apologists think it's so cool and hilarious, but it isn't. neither is what he did and the lesson he walked away with is that since he is surrounded by people who consider him popular and handsome, these people will always protect him from paying the price for bad decisions, so why not make them?

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 23, 2007 at 12:04 pm

paly parent

Now we are beginning to hear something that makes sense, at long last. The fall guy was saving his face and body parts from threats from the other culprits. This I do believe. Most of the rest I take with a large pinch of salt.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2007 at 2:16 pm

I wonder about Paly's administration's credibility since it allowed BM to receive his diploma publicly and ignore its own resolutions and admonishions.

If what paly parent writes is true then Paly is a branch of organized crime making offers that cannot be refused. What does say about parental responsibility in Palo Alto, if their offspring are a bunch of thugs? What about the famed Palo Alto schools responsibility?

They made me do it?
Sounds like a badly told story to cover up a misdeed.

Posted by me, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 23, 2007 at 2:47 pm

to that white guy who said this was turning into a ''racist'' thing. thats PRECISELY the attitude of racists! the moment you bring up ''race'' , then everything is ''racist''. personally i am 2 races, if i bring up ''race'' are you going to accuse me of being ''racist'' thats a racist insult to my ''white '' heritage also . thats the racist crap that america refuses to acknowledge. your comment is not going to be passed over.racial profiling exists in palo alto. to deny it , is racist...

Posted by me, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 23, 2007 at 2:50 pm

also , just because your white , you act like we should stop the preses! listen to me! im white! blah , blah. big deal! your white. that doesent make you the cosmic authority on all matters of society ecology etc. etc.!

Posted by Max, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 23, 2007 at 4:27 pm

We keep getting back to double standard and to privilege issues. Why does a black 18 year old being pulled over in Palo Alto for driving with an expired car registration(a violation but not a felony), get a citation and a hefty fine, but in the same city, white, well connected Blaine Marchant, shielded by his generally white and upscale apologists, who attempted to erase his VIN, (a felony), isn't even charged with it, and I won't even mention the car flipping matter. His apologists twist and gyrate in their attempts to excuse his actions, but are very careful to avoid the issue of double standard and gross hypocrisy.

Posted by Deko, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Erasing or attempting to erase a VIN# in California is classified under fraud and is a felony. Why did the DA decide not to charge BM with it? Would others get the same treatment from the DA, or do you have to be popular, handsome and have wealthy people talk about how cool, humorous and popular you are? Just wondering..

Posted by andrea, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 23, 2007 at 4:46 pm

paly student, vandalism committed on public property isn't "his personal business", not even close. It's the "people like you who don't even know him discussing his personal business" who influenced the authorities NOT to press charges against him and saved him from having a criminal record and possibly even jail time. Nope, he has no business being upset at "people like you".

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2007 at 4:55 pm


I am that white guy. Go ahead and call me a racist. I could care less. It seems to make you feel better, so I am happy to help out. The term has as much value as the term "fascist", which was used ad nauseum for a couple of decades.

When you see race behind every incident, you are a racist. Better look into the mirror to find the real deal.

This caper with this Paly kid DID involve light treatment, and bad lessons taught. And circling the wagons. It had a lot to do with class and connections, but if he was black (and middle class), and played sports, and his parents had so-called friends that did not want their kids names mentioned, etc... he would have gotten the same light treatment. Yes, a black kid would have gotten the same (light) treatment under the same circumstances.

This thing is not about race. OJ was about race.

Posted by Max, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

Well, you wonder how many Paly parents called up the DA and said: "this is...and I'm the CEO of...I just wanted to put in the good word for Blaine Marchant. He's a great kid and very popular in school and I was hoping you would go easy on him. We wouldn't want to jeopardize his future, would we? It was just a prank and I would greatly appreciate it, have a wonderful summer".

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2007 at 7:11 pm


I don't know how many CEO calls were made, if any. I do know that Scotty Laurence, the principal, was put under tremendous pressure. My sense is that he felt the heat, indirectly, from parents, whose kids were involved. I believe they called various teachers, staff, coaches and BoE members to complain about the "outrageous" treatment of the kid in question. These parents were trying to insure that their own kid(s) did not get would look bad going forward, if their kid(s) had a record.

I disagree that this was about race, but I DO agree that it was about protecting one's own! I don't think it takes a CEO parent to make the stink. In fact, just a few phone calls from connected folk, of any stripe, will do the job in Palo Alto. Very few PA parents are willing to stand up, and take the heat.

I wonder if this kid was told by his parents to divulge his co-conspirators. I seriously doubt it. If it was my kid, he would be in jail until he did.

Posted by Max, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 23, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Max, I agree with you that this isn't purely about race, since many black&white HS, college and professional athletes get away with just about anything, not excluding rape, assault, armed robbery, etc). However, in the context of Palo Alto, it was about double standards. I have seen only today, while walking my dog, a black person pulled over and getting a ticket for driving with an expired registration. Well, why shouldn't he tell the cops:"Blaine Marchant erased his VIN, which is a felony, but they didn't do anything about it, why shouldn't I receive the same treatment?" Who could argue with him? As for BM parents, they obviously didn't advise him to do the right thing, they just went along with the "Paly community" campaign to make sure he gets off with no consequences to him and without offering anything substantial to the community, in this case an apology and community service.

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2007 at 8:02 pm


I pretty much agree with you about double standards, excuses, protection, etc. I just don't agree that it was about race. If the guy/gal you saw pulled over today was white, what would you say? If your registration is invalid you are gonna get a ticket, OK? All the complaining about this HS caper will not get you or me out of the ticket, white or black or brown or yellow or red or purple.

We are pretty close, Max, just not on the race issue.

Posted by Deko, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2007 at 7:13 am

I call on the district attorney's office not to rush to get Blaine Marchant off the hook so easily. He should be prosecuted for his attempt to erase his car VIN which is a felony and be forced to commit to at least one year of community service in lieu of a criminal record. He should also be forced by the DA to divulge the identity of his co-conspirators as a condition for avoiding a criminal record. Anything less would smack of double standard.

Posted by Grandma, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

I don't know that this issue is necessarily over for Blaine. Down the road when this young man is seeking a job, and a potential employer is looking for his record, it's going to show up on some database somewhere.

Posted by on the sideline, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2007 at 1:03 pm


Oh well I guess all the CEOs, Affuluent Parents, Multi-generational Palo Altans got to the DA. Goes to show if you have the right backers, lineage, popular and white, you can rule in this town.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Ahhhh The new school year is fast approaching and the new seniors are now planning to upstage last year's lot. What will the future bring?

Posted by Former Student, a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2007 at 10:36 pm

It will definately bring more brand-new BMWs in the parking lot.

Posted by Marvin L Foushee, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 25, 2008 at 3:08 pm

One person could not have flipped over a Volvo by himself. Was Zev Karlin-Neuman one of the other unnamed suspects in this criminal case? I am trying to find out how a mediocre high school student and mediocre high school journalist got into Stanford and made the Daily Stanford Editorial Board as a Freshman. What are the Stalinist police department odds of that happening? 1 to 1.

Democracy doesn't work if you don't send the Nixon alternatives to the gallows.