Tyell Morton Faces Felony Charges in Blow-Up Doll Prank
18-Yr-Old Tyell Morton Faces 8 Years in Prison for Senior Prank
Tyell Morton, an 18-year-old senior at Rushville Consolidated High School, brought an adult blow-up doll into the girls' restroom as part of a senior prank. A janitor saw Morton running away, and contacted the authorities. By now, you've guessed that this would spiral out of control, and you're right.
School officials went over the CCTV footage and saw Tyell Morton (at that point unidentified) enter the school with a box but leave empty handed. The school immediately went into lockdown, and the police bomb squad was brought in.
The cops found the blow-up doll, and arrested Tyell Morton. He is being charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and institutional criminal mischief; Morton could face two to eight years in prison.
Note that Tyell Morton never made any threats against the school or told anyone that he was going to cause any mayhem. He simply spirited a blow-up doll into a locker room. Terrornoia took over from there.
The county prosecutor doesn't see anything wrong with the school's conduct, though there's a difference between overreacting to a perceived threat and treating the perpetrator as if he actually made that threat. Indeed, Rush County Prosecutor Philip J. Caviness is quoted as saying, "In this post-Columbine world, that's what you get when these kinds of things happen," which begs the question of who he's referring to with "you", and why, precisely, it's appropriate to threaten Morton with more prison time than if he had brought a gun onto campus and waved it around.
Caviness is the prosecutor: he can indeed choose to throw out silly cases, if he's so inclined. Meanwhile, Tyell Morton was held in jail for five days before his family could raise enough money to make bail.
Critics of the case are bringing race and class into it (Tyell Morton is an African-American from a lower-income family), though the Mortons are shying away from being race into the public side of the discussion. At this point, it looks like the prosecution is only going forward to keep the school officials from looking like fools. It is unlikely to work in that regard.
Even if he doesn't end up doing prison time, a felony conviction would be an albatross around Tyell Morton's neck for the rest of his life, all because of overreactions to a senior prank.