College engineering student Elphbert Laforteza is ready to move on: His bottle-bombing days are long behind him, and now, so is his criminal record.
In 2009, Laforteza, then a teen on the honor roll at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, Calif., shocked his community by planting bottle bombs around his school as a year-end prank. School officials and police weren't laughing after three bombs exploded in three school trash cans. Three other bombs were detonated by police. No one was hurt.
The incident left Laforteza facing possible felony charges, though he was later convicted of just two misdemeanors, spent five days in jail and was sentenced to three years' probation instead of more jail time. Still, it was enough for the teen to lose out on a scholarship and have college acceptances revoked.
Today, life is looking much brighter for Laforteza, now 21. After spending two years at a community college, he transferred to the University of San Diego and is close to completing a degree in mechanical engineering. Earlier this month, a judge granted Laforteza's request to expunge the misdemeanors from his record.
"In essence, what an expungement or dismissal does is takes it off his record completely. It wipes it clean so that he can ask for jobs and admission into schools and things like that, and he doesn't have to mark the box have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. He can answer no," said Laforteza's lawyer, Dan Smith.
An ROTC alum, Laforteza is now applying to become an officer in the Air Force. He has words of wisdom for other graduating high schoolers hoping to leave their mark with what they may think is innocent tomfoolery: "I just want to advise seniors, 'Don't participate in any kind of senior pranks that will damage your future."
Click through to learn about more outrageous or just plain fun high school pranks and watch "20/20: Classroom Confidential" online.
At a pep rally at a high school is Rosemount, Minn., a group of blindfolded athletes were led to believe they would be kissed on the lips by their fellow students. What they didn't know was that they were actually exchanging smooches with their own parents, who were in on the joke.
In one case, a mother moved her son's hand to her behind as they embraced; in another case, a mother-son pair rolled around on the floor.
Video footage of the incident circulated via YouTube and, after much criticism, the high school's principal issued an apology.
"This activity was intended to be fun, but some found it offensive," John Wollersheim wrote in a statement. "We apologize to anyone who was offended by this activity."
|Bevy of Balloons|
This is a senior prank that didn't land anyone in jail: Last spring, seniors at Arlington High School in Arlington, Mass. filled a school stair well with 3,300 brightly-colored balloons. The mischievous teens even posted a sign saying, "No Entry: Wild Balloon Habitat."
The prank, the school's principal said in a newsletter, was done in good taste, according to Boston.com
"I congratulate our senior pranksters who put careful thought into doing something fun that did no harm and did not disrupt the school day," Principal Mary Villano said.
Eric Striffler was the prank master supreme of his Manorville High School on Long Island, N.Y. -- so much so, that he eventually got school administrators to sign off on some of his practical jokes. But not all of Striffler's pranks were gems.
In one case, his friend was supposed to try to convince school nurses that every time he heard his name, he felt compelled to dance uncontrollably. But the prank didn't quite work as planned.
When the friend tried to fake a dance attack, "he ended up looking like he was having a seizure at best, a heart attack at worst. And the nurses kind of freaked out," Striffler told "20/20."
Concerned that the prank had wasted school nurses' time, school authorities handed Striffler and his friend a one-day suspension. Watch the video of the failed practical joke here.
It's unclear whether this video is the real deal, but if it is, it made for one heck of a prank. A video posted to YouTube from Norway shows one student rubbing fake blood on another student named Daniel before the supposedly bloodied Daniel positions himself beneath a chair, giving the impression that the fallen chair had killed or at least severely injured him.
When a teacher walks in on the scene she screams; her horror soon quickly turns to anger when she realizes that Daniel is very much alive and unhurt. The video has amassed more than five million hits on YouTube since being posted in 2010.