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Farmington student charged for role in homecoming prank that left students crying

FARMINGTON, Minn. -- A 17-year-old Farmington High School student has been charged with two misdemeanors and 15 other students have been referred to a diversionary program for their roles in a prank that left students crying and "freaking out" du...

FARMINGTON, Minn. -- A 17-year-old Farmington High School student has been charged with two misdemeanors and 15 other students have been referred to a diversionary program for their roles in a prank that left students crying and "freaking out" during the school's homecoming week.

"This case appears to be a type of hazing incident associated with homecoming activities," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. "These types of activities are clearly inappropriate, dangerous and need to be appropriately addressed."

The incident happened late Sept. 27 and early Sept. 28, leading to gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation and misdemeanor assault for the 17-year-old girl.

According to Farmington police, a group of high school juniors drove to the 17-year-old's home with a plan to kidnap her as part of a junior-senior war. When they arrived, they found themselves surrounded by senior students. The seniors zip-tied two of the juniors' hands behind their backs and threw them in the trunk of a car. They put two more students in the car's back seat. One of those students had their hands zip-tied as well. The other was forced to the ground several times as students attempted to zip-tie her hands.

The seniors attempted to grab two other students but were not successful.

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The seniors then took the car on a joyride around the city. The 17-year-old was driving, and several other cars followed. The students talked by cell phone about where to go.

According to information from the Dakota County Attorney's Office, several students described the 17-year-old as driving fast and recklessly.

The joyride ended with an accident when the 17-year-old made a U-turn in front of a vehicle driven by another student. The second driver tried to swerve but hit the front of the turning car.

The seniors let the juniors out of the car and drove them home after the accident.

A Farmington police officer came upon the accident about 1 a.m. Sept. 28.

According to the county attorney's office, one of the girls in the trunk bumped her head when the 17-year-old drove over speed bumps in the high school parking lot. The junior girls were described as crying and "freaking out."

Pranks and hazing incidents were a recognized problem for several years at Farmington High School, but more recently the school has pushed for more positive activities.

"A majority of our kids are out there, taking advantage of the opportunities we give them to have a safe homecoming," high school principal Jason Berg said at the time of the incident. "We just have to keep working with our students about making good decisions."

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The students referred to a diversionary program include 12 17-year-olds, 10 girls and two boys; one 16-year-old boy and two 18-year-old boys. If they choose not to participate in the program they will be charged with disorderly conduct.

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