No Criminal Charges Against 3 Students In School Rabbit Prank

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday no charges would be filed against three juveniles involved in a prank at South Johnston High School last week that led to the euthanization of a rabbit.

Between 1:00am and 2:00am last Wednesday morning, the students, all under age 16, placed a banner in front of the school building, then lowered 9 rabbits in a crate into the courtyard. 

School officials discovered the banner and the rabbits when they arrived at school Wednesday morning.  One rabbit was hurt after jumping in the vegetation and brush and regretfully had to be put to sleep by a veterinarian, according to Tracey Peedin Jones, Public Information Officer, with Johnston County Schools.

“The other rabbits were collected and have been adopted by the South Johnston Agriculture Department, Peedin Jones said. “The rabbits are currently being cared for and nurtured by students and staff and many are now a part of the Future Farmer of America program.” 

Peedin Jones said, “The administration at South Johnston High School and the Johnston County Schools takes the humane treatment of animals seriously.”

While no criminal charges will be filed, the students will face disciplinary action from school officials.  Officials would not disclose what type of disciplinary action would be taken saying the discipline is part of student records and is confidential.

Sheriff’s officials said Monday the reason they decided not to file criminal charges was because there was no “malicious intent” by the juveniles to harm the rabbits.  The names of the students were not released because they are juveniles.  They were identified after a school resource officer at South Johnston High reviewed video security camera footage that captured the early morning incident.