Damage Done to Several Outlets at High School
HANSON — Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak and Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch report that two Whitman-Hanson Regional High School students will be facing criminal charges after they replicated a viral video trend that resulted in several electrical outlets being scorched inside the school last week.
A 15-YEAR-OLD MALE STUDENT and a 16-YEAR-OLD MALE STUDENT were charged with:
- Attempt to Burn a Public Building
- Malicious Destruction of Property
The students will be issued summonses to appear in juvenile court at a later date and will be subject to the school district’s student code of conduct policies. Because the students are juveniles their identities will not be released.
On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Hanson Police Department was called to Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, 600 Franklin St., for a report of two students who had caused damage to multiple electrical outlets.
Last week, school officials noticed that some electrical outlets were damaged and appeared to have short-circuited. It was later determined that the damaged outlets were the result of a viral video trend on the popular video app Tik Tok. In total, there were eight electrical outlets that had been damaged throughout the school.
School officials identified two students who did damage to some, if not all, of the outlets. Hanson Police were called to investigate the situation on Thursday, Jan. 23 and determined that the students would be charged.
No injuries were reported in the incidents.
On, Jan. 23, Whitman-Hanson High Principal Christopher Jones sent a letter home to parents notifying them of the incidents and warned of the dangers of this viral trend.
The dangerous trend involves partially inserting the pronged part of a phone charger into an outlet and sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. This action results in the outlet being scorched and can cause electrical system damage and, in some cases, fire. To view the video of the challenge click here.
Similar incidents occurred throughout the state last week and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey released an advisory to inform the general public.
“This is not just a harmless prank that kids are doing,” Chief Miksch said. “Causing an outlet to short circuit this way can cause serious injury and could potentially start a fire. Not to mention the damage it can do to a building’s electrical system, along with hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of damage. We are taking this issue seriously and anyone identified doing this will be charged criminally.”
The following electrical fire safety tips are from the U.S. Fire Administration:
- Insert plugs fully into sockets.
- If you have young children, install tamper-resistant electrical outlets.
- Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit tightly.
- Do not overload outlets.
- Never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet.
In addition to electrical fire safety, Chief Miksch and Superintendent Szymaniak would like to remind parents and children to discuss the dangers of certain online challenges and trends and recognizing dangerous activity they may witness on the internet.
“We urge parents to talk to their children about this serious issue and the dangers that can occur to themselves and others by doing this,” Superintendent Szymaniak said. “Thankfully no one was hurt and no major damage was done. Although, we did have power outages with some of our SMART boards and classroom lights and had to replace the damaged outlets.”