A high school student in Columbia, Mo., faces felony charges after pulling a prank in her school yearbook. The student allegedly altered a classmate’s last name to “Masturbate” in place of her actual last name.
Hickman High School senior Kaitlyn Booth, 17, allegedly accessed the school’s 2013 yearbook proof after it had been checked over and approved by staff, Principal Dr. Tracey Conrad told the Columbia Daily Tribune. Booth then altered the last name of a fellow student, Raigan Mastain, to “Masturbate,” just before the yearbook was printed and distributed to students.
"This is the first time we've dealt with anything like this," Conrad told local NBC affiliate KOMU. The Hickman principal added that once Booth’s change was noticed, the matter was turned over to the school’s resource officer, who contacted local authorities.
Booth was arrested on May 14 and faces charges of first-degree property damage, a felony, as well as harassment, the Daily Tribune reports.
The social damage done to Mastain’s name was only part of the problem, Principal Conrad told the Daily Tribune. "Cost was the biggest factor ... We didn't know how much it was going to cost to rectify the situation. It was defacing property."
According to Kim Acopolis, Hickman’s yearbook advisor, reprinting 720 school yearbooks would have cost about $41,000, the Daily Tribune reports. Instead, the school decided to place stickers over the word “masturbate,” restoring Mastain’s proper last name. The process of placing the stickers reportedly took about 12 hours. "The yearbook staff worked diligently to retrieve the ones that had been handed out and to put the stickers over the pages of the yearbooks that were yet to be handed out," Conrad told the Daily Tribune.
Mastain, for her part, said she wasn’t thrilled with Booth’s yearbook prank but she also “wasn’t devastated.” “I was kind of annoyed. It was stupid, but I wasn’t that upset,” she said. Though she had alerted Acopolis to the prank, she was surprised to learn of Booth’s arrest and felony charge. "I understand the legality … but I was definitely pretty shocked," she told the Daily Tribune. "When you're in high school, you do stuff that is not necessarily the smartest, and this was an example of that."
Tom Barrabi is a reporter for the International Business Times. He graduated from Fairfield University in 2011, and has also written for Men's Fitness, Complex, GuySpeed, and...