The school years can be difficult for children and teenagers. They may not only have to endure bullying and peer pressure but can also be faced with difficult decisions. It is not always easy to know what is right and wrong, especially when friends are influencing them on what to do. However, it is important for children and parents in Pennsylvania to understand that some things that may be thought of as harmless jokes can be considered bullying and may even result in criminal charges.

Such was the case in December, when three girls in Butler, Pennsylvania, decided to play a joke on a classmate who had a serious allergy to pineapple. Reportedly, one 14-year-old girl rubbed some fresh pineapple on her hand and gave a high-five to the girl with the allergy. After suffering an allergic reaction, the girl was taken to the hospital. Fortunately, she recovered, but the girls involved in the prank are now facing charges, including aggravated assault, reckless endangering, harassment, criminal conduct and criminal conspiracy.

Being underaged does not necessarily protect people from being charged with a crime. The girls are between the ages of 13 and 14. It is unclear what consequences they may face once the case is over; however, it can be assumed that had the girl become seriously ill or passed away as a result of the prank, the girls’ situation would be even more grave. Parents may help their children avoid charges by talking to them about the consequences of harmful pranks, and they may wish to seek legal counsel if necessary.

Source: USA TODAY, “Pineapple-tainted high-five sends allergic girl to hospital, 3 teens face charges,” Sean Rossman, Jan. 26, 2018