Authorities in Dakota County have charged a 17-year old and cited 15 other teens for their roles in a homecoming hazing prank in Farmington last fall that resulted in several junior students being "kidnapped" by seniors.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the actions Wednesday, which stem from a “war” between the junior and senior class during homecoming week in late September.
Late on Sept. 27, a group of Farmington seniors “kidnapped” four female students from the junior class, zip-tied the hands of some of those students together, and put two of them in the trunk of a car. The other two were put in the backseat.
The 17-year-old female driver of that car went on a joyride through Farmington, followed by caravan of other senior students in several vehicles.
The prank ended when the driver got into a minor accident with one of the other students' cars near the high school. The group then set the juniors free and ran from the scene.
The mother of one of the kidnapped students called police a short time later to report the incident. The driver later admitted to police that she had the four captive students in her car.
The driver was charged Wednesday with a gross misdemeanor of criminal vehicular operation and misdemeanor assault in the fifth degree, Backstrom said.
"These types of activities are clearly inappropriate, dangerous and need to be appropriately addressed," he said in the statement.
The other 15 students involved in the prank have been offered a diversion program instead of being prosecuted on disorderly conduct charges. Backstrom said if any of them decline the diversion offer or fail to complete the program requirements, they will face charges.
This isn’t the first time Farmington students have gotten in trouble during homecoming. Sun This Week says about six years ago the police department, school district, students and parents “put their collective foot down” to stop the pranks, which they said had gotten out of hand.
The Farmington School District’s hazing policy, which is based off Minnesota state law, prohibits hazing of any kind and says the district will investigate any incident and then take appropriate action, which could include anything from warning the student to expulsion.
It's unclear what, if any disciplinary action was taken against the students involved in this incident.