You can't spank them. You can't discipline them. You can't hurt their feelings

United States
June 26, 2008 1:40pm CST
I don't know if kids are just stupid or their parents are ignoring them...or they are not disciplined, but some just don't get it! These teachers could have died...and these children were close to the adults involved and the victims were liked by these students. What to do, what to do? These children think it was funny and not a big deal. Part of the punishment should be to have it done unto them. Students' laxative-spiked cake sends Brooklyn teachers to hospital BY RACHEL MONAHAN, KERRY BURKE AND TRACY CONNOR DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS Wednesday, June 18th 2008, 12:40 AM Tracy for News Brooklyn School for Global Studies Alleged prank victim Danilo Dungca. Teachers were thrilled when students at a Brooklyn high school sweetly offered them slices of homemade cake last week. But the innocent-looking treat contained a nasty surprise - it was laced with laxatives that sent two educators to the hospital and sickened three other staffers. Now, three seniors at the Brooklyn School for Global Studies in Cobble Hill have been suspended for the prank and barred from graduation - and were under arrest last night. "It was just cruel and hurtful," one of the victims, Tom Mancuso, 36, told the Daily News Tuesday. The students - Tiara Peoples, Kenny Ramirez and Quashon Burton, all 17 - were taken to the 76th Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn. Assault charges were pending, sources said. "What they did was wrong and they need to be punished," said a school social worker who was sickened by the cake. "On the other hand, I was very close to these students and I'm very sad," she told The News, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "It's very hard when you give so much of your heart and soul to your kids and someone hurts you like that." The students behind Thursday's stunt weren't seen as troublemakers - one was a straight-A cheerleader. So no one was suspicious when they doled out the chocolate-iced Bundt cake. People who were offered the cake assumed the red chunks inside the yellow filling were candy, but school officials say they were actually Dulcolax tablets. "One of the kids said it was baked by his mom. 'Go ahead, it's free,'" said Danilo Dungca, 54, who left a job at the Federal Reserve three years ago to teach in the public schools. "I'm very close with the kids, so I didn't think anything of it." As soon as he and Mancuso took a bite, they knew something was wrong. "It tasted like someone sprayed hairspray in my mouth. I spit it out," Mancuso said. "That's when my lips and my tongue went numb." "It had red chunks that looked like cherries, but they were bitter," Dungca added, "I spit it out....My mouth was numb. I got sick. I went to the bathroom." Dungca went right to the emergency room. Mancuso left early, then headed to the hospital when he had breathing problems. Doctors told him his symptoms were consistent with insecticide poisoning, and there was buzz among students the cake had been sprayed with Raid, he said. The Health Department tested the cake and did not find any poisons, sources said. Principal Lisa Gibbs had no comment. In an e-mail to her staff, she alluded to problems at the school and said she considered quitting two weeks ago but changed her mind. "While I know that we are all deeply offended, angry, disappointed, and saddened by this turn of events, it's important to remember that not all students would be so devious and harmful," she said. Some students at the school were blasé about the cake caper. "Nobody's died from a laxative," said Shanell James, 17, a senior and friend of Ramirez. "He thought it was funny. I thought it was funny, too." Others were dismayed. Student body president Luis Daray called the prank "very foolish." Bob Zuckerberg, the district's teachers union rep, said it was "horrendous." For Mancuso, the episode capped a difficult year in which he battled the Epstein-Barr virus. "Ironically," he said, "this is the icing on the cake." tconnor@nydailynews.com With Alison Gendar, Barry Paddock, Rich Schapiro and Carrie Melago
2 people like this
4 responses
• United States
26 Jun 08
I read about this on the newspaper a few weeks ago but it didn't give as much details as you just gave. In the newspaper it said that the students got the idea from a show on MTV. I find it really stupid for them to do something like that. Even if it is a prank they should not have done something like this.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Jun 08
One must ask, would it have been funny if it had been done to me?
1 person likes this
• Lubbock, Texas
26 Jun 08
I agree. One of my granddaughters had a rather twisted sense of humor when she was a preteen. She'd pull a harmful prank, or say something very hurtful. When I'd reprimand her for it she'd say "it was a joke Nana, it was just a joke!" I'd always tell her, "Jokes are funny. That's not funny to the victim. Would you like for someone to do that to you?"
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jun 08
Yeah it's not funny because if something dangerous would have happened then it wouldn't be seen as a joke. If you do a practical joke on someone and then something goes wrong then you will be held accountable like these kids are. Because you can't just play around with people like that.
1 person likes this
@mclendon (308)
• United States
26 Jun 08
That's very discouraging, but I think it most likely comes from all the practical jokes shows on TV. Sometimes it seems we're living in a prank culture. The kids probably didn't realize they could do any serious harm or get into trouble. They just thought it a funny prank like they see on TV or movies or hear on the radio. A radio station I sometimes listen to recently started doing prank phone calls on their morning show. Some of the calls are very mean and the people called get upset. They are even sometimes calling people at 3 or 4:00 in the morning and waking them up. I sent the station an email saying I really didn't like the mean prank calls they were doing. The morning DJ emailed back that prank calls were their most popular feature. It makes me really sad that so many people think it is funny to upset people and disrupt their day for a joke.
• United States
26 Jun 08
Most people defend what they do by saying it is popular. If it really is popular, we have problems. If adults think that is funny no wonder the teens do. I would think that prank calls would be against the law.
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
26 Jun 08
Nausea, vomiting and stomach pain are not funny in any circumstance. Somehow, those teens need to be made to understand that this is a terrible prank to pull.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jun 08
Maybe there should be a course in schools from pre-kindergarten and up through out life phases. You hear all these stories about crime and terrible deads from the time children are so young and up. It seems to me that so many people need to be reminded of what is appropriate behavior.
• Lubbock, Texas
26 Jun 08
This is extremely sad! There was a time that this kind of childish prank might have been played on your peers, but no one would have even dreamed of playing it on an authority figure. I think authority figure is just a name without any "authority" in this day and age. Who is responsible for it? Society! Who is Society? Us. We, the parents, if we don't know where our children, even teen agers, are, who they're with, what they're up to. Yes you want them to have a social life, but they must answer for their deeds. If parents don't bring their children up that way, who's to blame for their behaviour. If they do bring them up this way, and they still get out of hand, are the parents leading by example, or driving their children with "do as I say not as I do" attitude?
• United States
26 Jun 08
Parents need to be responsible. Yet, when their kids get into big trouble, they ask, what did I do? Usually, it is what you didn't do.