Live Chicken Prank Lands 3 N.J. Students In The Coop

Allegedly Turn Animals Loose In School, Face Criminal Charges

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It was supposed to be a senior prank, but now three students in Woodbridge said they’re facing criminal charges — and may not be able to walk through graduation ceremony and take part in other senior activities.

Does the punishment go too far?

It wasn’t the T-shirts that got two 17-year-olds in trouble, but the actual chickens they said they released into their high school as part of a senior prank back in February.

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“So we confessed. We told the truth. Now we’re getting charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, not allowed to go to prom, not allowed to go to graduation, and all that,” Anthony Cesareo told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Cesareo and Tyler Bruno said they bought live chickens from a store in Newark and pushed the chickens through a window at Woodbridge High School in the middle of the night. A janitor found them in the morning before school started.

“Just how harsh they’re being with the punishment and everything, the seriousness of a not serious prank,” Bruno said.

Cesareo, who was suspended from school Wednesday, spoke to Sloan with his mother and two friends who face the same consequences.

“They’re taking it too far, way too far,” Anna Cesareo said. 

The school’s principal wouldn’t comment and Sloan’s calls to the superintendent haven’t been returned.

Police said they can’t release information on the 17-year-olds because they’re juveniles, but they gave Sloan the report on 18-year-old Bryan Pater, saying he’s been charged with trespassing.”

“I am very worried,” Pater said.

Pater said he’s not happy about the charges and of not going to the prom.

“For us not to be there, it would just be heartbreaking,” Pater said.

“It’s not fun anymore. No one knows how to have a good laugh,” Anthony Cesareo added.

It may have been a joke to them, but police said it wouldn’t have been so funny if a student got hurt.

The teenagers said they got the chickens from a live poultry shop in Newark, but the shop denied it, saying they don’t let live chickens leave their premises.

The 18-year-old faces a $1,000 fine and six months in prison, but it’s unlikely he’ll face any time. A judge can give him community service.

Do you think these kids are being too harshly punished? Offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Christine Sloan
  • tornado2828

    i don’t know that the students should sue but the students absolutely should demand an apology.

    1. remember, senior kids: in a few months, you will be 18 and you will legally be adults and taxpayers……….teachers and all school employees are just government employees…….AS A TAXPAYER, YOU ARE THE BOSS OF ALL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. government employees work for the taxpayer!!!!!!!

    it gives you power… and can legally make demands….don’t let your teachers forget….it is for sure that they will not tell you.

    2. also remember…..nj governor chris christie is fed up with teachers….he is considering many actions such as eliminating teacher tenure and cutting back on their precious benefits……telling the governor how fed up you are with the ridiiculousness of this chicken incident could go a long way…..i would write a letter and get signatures from all seniors……

  • Zr1

    My dad was an educator. These people (school administrators) are idiots – arrogant idiots.

  • Jonathan Grant

    Was that chicken registered? After all, criminals use chickens all the time when they hold up liquor stores

  • Cranios

    The school administration are idiots.
    These two kids should say they are making a statement for gay rights, and the whole thing would then be dropped and they’d be getting a special award at graduation instead of being punished. School administration FAIL.

  • Kyle Otto

    Did the chickens have large talons?


    Woodbridge High School Newark NJ

    Woodbridge, NJ 07095
    (732) 602-8600

    The only way to stop madness like this is to put public pressure.

  • chuck

    Oh the things we did in fun in high school. A kid gave me a fire cracker which are illegal in our state and so we picked the lock to the shop class and put the fire cracker in the bottom of the metal cutting bench that used a torch to cut the metal. Next hour we had class in shop and a friend started a torch and started cutting and a couple minutes later – boom. Teacher said, Now you can go back to work. A rabbit was caught and let go in school. There were fist fights that ended up in the principals office and that would be it. Parents not even notified. Most of the guys in my class got “charlie” which was a big paddle that the principal had in his office. Bend over on command and the paddle would do its work. Also we nick names that would not pass today.Writing this brings back many memories but I had better stop. Over the years I have heard stories from my dad and others of my generation. Make you laugh till your sides hurt. Our old part of the school I attended had central heating with a big eight foot fan to move the air though the building’s classroom. twenty or so years before I attended some prankster got a bunch of chicken feathers and the big fan did the rest. Enough said

  • e pluribus unum

    I think this is a charming reprise from the normal stories we read about gangs and such. How quaint for kids to do a harmless prank. Sounds like something their great grandfathers would have done…and they wouldn’t have had such a harsh punishment.

  • DanStlMo

    In my day the chickens would have ended up on a lunch tray the “yutes” would have been made too run extra laps.

  • tornado2828

    i live in the real world….a world where workers must prove themselves every day….a world of independent business people with no unions and no guaranteed pay but the possibility to make millions of dollars….no time for pettiness

    the woodbridge nj administration’s response to this chicken prank is fodder for late night talk show hosts david letterman and jay leno…there’s enough material for a thousand monologues.

  • Huh?

    so, um, we have teen pregnancy, drug use, high drop out rate, violence, gangs and bullies but two chickens is what gets all the attention…

  • Dr. John Baldwin Twain Harte Connection

    In 10th grade, back in (OK I’m old) 1948, I brought my two Homeing Pidgeons to high school, released them in my HOME ROOM, and instead of flying out the wide open windows, they perched on the light fixtures up high. Mr. Brown took the window “Stick”…the thingy used to open the big sliding windows and started to smack my birds. I tackled him, and stopped the hysterics, but landed in F. Hamilton Whipple’s office (the Principal)…but only got a smile and a reprimand. The birds made it home that night. I went on to Dartmouth College, Cornell Medical School and a career in US ARMY Vietnam and thirty years of heart surgery. The current culture has no sense of humor and no perspective of what is fun and what is “evil”. This case says it all. Sorry America, but we are pathetic.

    • AK Fourth

      Exactly 100% spot-on, Doctor!

      What has made America what it is today: the liberal anti-war anti-establishment pot smoking ‘cool’ students of the mid-1960’s onward.

      You and I are the same age, and I remember volunteering for duty in Vietnam
      whilst my liberal classmates were all running to Canada and smoking dope and really just having one helluva time in the free love era in which everything goes.

      Just look what it did to the once-proud United States.

      Never been the same…

    • Tomas57

      A friend, when he was in high school, bought chickens from a local chicken grower. He and his buddies painted them different colors, snuck up on the roof at night, and threw them in an enclosed quad, which was surrounded by classrooms. The spectacle of fat janitors, pencil holders showing, chasing colored chickens, caused an uproar in those classrooms. It was a great prank. The principal found out who did it and hauled them down to his office. He tried to chew them out, but he had to stop because he kept smiling… finally, he just said, “OK. That WAS pretty good. But don’t do it again.” This was in the 80s.

      In the 70s, I snuck into a classroom with a friend – during school hours – and turned the room around 180 degrees (the teacher was on break). Everything… furniture, desks, filing cabinets… It was classic. We had class in that room a couple hours later, and the teacher made my class turn it back.

      I really miss the days when kids could have fun without danger of winding up having their lives ruined by unprincipled boobs.

  • Herb Munson

    When I was in High School we carried a teacher’s VW bug into the gym and put it up on the stage. My gosh, if this chicken prank is any indicator this would carry the death penalty today!

  • L. Hill

    Come on, the kids were having a little fun. Years ago, I almost bought a goat to put in my bosses hotel room until word got out about what I was going to do. Good old fashioned pranks are healthy. I can’t wait to read some of the comments from the “politically correct, holier than thou” idiots.

  • abovethefrey

    I guess they would have executed the kids who put a cow in my high school building for the weekend years ago!!

    • GFM2011

      Or at least for misspelling the word “fray.”

  • MrCluck

    I love chickens. They taste like cats.

  • youbet

    Those chickens came from a tough family.
    They had switch blade knifes.

  • B.Butler

    Yet ANOTHER example of out of this world ridiculous behavior by all authorities in question. These students should sue, and I would love to see them get the last laugh by being awarded and very nice little nest egg to start life with. The actions of the police are just embarrasing.

    • dtayls


  • ChickenBoy & Rooster

    Get real. It’s not like they cut the McNuggets off the chickens before releasing them.

    • BeerBattered Parents

      This just in….DNA test results have added another crime against the teens. They all will also be charged with sibling abuse. Turns out the chickens share the same parents with the boys…

  • kim

    Chickens are a great prank, you should be thankful they came up with that instead of deadly weapons. Did everyone forget how to laugh these days or what?

  • tornado2828

    tomorrow , the woodbridge nj high school will be fully staffed with no fewer than ten onsite counselors….they will attend to any students who were traumatized by the horrible chicken incident.

  • Tim Smith

    “It may have been a joke to them, but police said it wouldn’t have been so funny if a student got hurt.”


    Anyone who is seriously concerned, about receiving an injury from a chicken, desrves to be thinned from the herd, anyway. What a nation of whiners we have become.

    • John

      “thinned from the herd” – absolutely perfect.

  • Rally2xs

    “What if somebody had been injured?” By a CHICKEN? Get real…

  • tornado2828

    hey kids: the minute you receive your diplomas, run out to the parking lot and stuff a chicken into the fuel tank of every woodbridge teacher, counselor, principal, vice principal, and superintendent.

  • Rally2xs

    Nothing new. School has always been populated by ego-tripping disciplinarians that don’t have any idea when to quit. It was that way 50 years ago when I went to school, and nothing’s changed.

  • Mr. Armenia

    They deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is a crime.

    Mr. Pater maybe if you did not act like a moron and commit a crime you can go to your prom.

    You need to be in jail

    • Chuck Curry

      Ja! Zey vill not escape!

    • Tim Smith

      Myabe, after the janitor has finished cleaning up the toxic chicken poo, he can help you extricate that huge stick.

    • k.

      its a senior prank get real


    This is what happens if you go to public schools. ST JOES HIGH SCHOOL ALL THE WAY

  • radgast

    The community needs to reflect upon all the serious issues we face and ask where this ranks amongst them. If this doesn’t rank up with violence, drug use, team pregnancies, or a host of other serious concerns then it should be handled just as it is, a senoir prank. I would also ask student body to consider a boycott the official school prom and sponsor their own as all inclusive if not reconsidered but of course that should be for the students and parents to decide. The three should also bury this on their records the best they can, and I hope the judge considers community service as too harsh but comes up with a creative punishment that the school failed to do so. Like, write 1000 word apology to the janitor and have each read it to the school in the morning. Ok maybe I am not as creative as I would hope they would be, but I don’t get paid 6 figures to babysit these kids, and feel this incident is too much for me to handle so I called the cops.

    • Chuck Curry

      Tell us more about these “team pregnancies”

      • Tim Smith

        TEAM pregnacies? Oh plese do enlighten us.

    • John Calvin Jones

      Best line ever: “police said it wouldn’t have been so funny if a student got hurt.” I guess the reporter is just as stupid as the cops! Hurt, by a chicken? Well, I guess the cops know about the dangers of the pecking order – and THAT is no laughing matter.

    • bpd

      I tried to make the pregnancy team in high school several times, but I could never score.

    • Radgast

      LOL, at least I can laugh about the little things, although there are some schools out there with pregnancy pacts, As I am sure most figured out the intended word was teen, not team, but that could be a serious issue none the less

  • Philadelphia,PA

    with all that being said…dats wut u get for copying our senior prank ;)…AT LEAST BE ORIGINAL ABOUT YOUR SENIOR PRANKS…we were…

  • Dave72

    Don’t forget, their hero Jimmah Cahtah was attacked by a bunny.

  • Dave72

    The adjective “chickenshlt” administration comes to mind.

  • Chuck Curry

    Every adult decrying this harsh and stupid punishment needs to look into the mirror. It is our generation that preoccupied itself with nonsense while turning a blind eye to the growing menace of public unions and their destructive effects on our children. Make no mistake: More kids in the criminal system = more public union members = more dues for the union leaders. Where does it end? It ends when every one of our kids has a record, or when we throw the bums out. Enough is enough!

  • GPA Leader

    The true crime here is that the chickens did better in class than the three teens in the article! The boys spent more time drumming up an idea for a senior prank than they did focusing on school studies during their four years in HS…mention mathematics to these kids and their brain knows to bake chicken nuggets on 350 F for 15 minutes. Dunces.

    • Chuck Curry

      I reviewed the article for mention of these kids’ math scores. Didn’t catch them. Perhaps you have an in with some of their teachers. A person who thinks it takes any measurable amount of time to come up with the idea of putting a chicken through a window as a gag must not have been a very lively youth in their day. And nobody gives a damn about GPA anyway. I’m an engineer, and I don’t recall the last time anyone asked me what my GPA was, or when I asked anyone we hired what theirs was. Oh wait, you need a good GPA to have the privilege of getting ripped off by a land grant university for a social services degree. I forgot. Meanwhile, all of the so-called “honor students” in America are being passed over for kids from India who were doing calculus in the 4th grade. I’ve got an idea, why not shove you sanctimonious hand-wringing in the same place where American “educators” keep their heads?

      • GPA Leader

        Chucky sounds just like the older generation that gave up on motivating our youth to strive for academic heights and to feel pride in workmanship and have attention to detail. That’s exactly why international students far out-perform academically than the students American high schools are releasing as examples. You missed the bigger point.

      • Chuck Curry

        I’m 26

    • k.

      uh thats why two of the kids are on the honor roll……

  • Sukalubov, Portland, Oregon

    What would have happened if Obama was thrown onto school grounds? The kids would have been dubbed racists and drummed out of school. Can anybody imagine the morons running schools these days. No wonder we have moron coming out of HS. No wonder the unions are loosing it with the general public. No wonder this country is heading south.

  • Craig Alan Loewen

    This is why I homeschool my three boys.

    And they are all testing w-a-y above their peers who attend high school. I wonder why?

  • tornado2828

    note to all woodbridge nj students: make a big stink about this whole thing and get headlines……..your pathetic school system will have to back down because bad publicity is bad for woodbridge…..woodbridge will beome less desirable to live in and that means less taxes in woodbridge…..less taxes means lower pay for woodbridge officials…lower taxes means lower pay for the flunkie woodbridge government officials……HIT THEM WHERE IT HURTS MOST.

    woodbridge nj students: i promise you that you have the power because you have the numbers on your side….unite and overturn stupid chicken ruling.

  • Trance

    What a joyless, humourless school this must be, judging by this reaction to a not so serious prank, the prom is going to be a real blast………….. NOT. the administrators of the school need to get a life and another job.

  • Wake Up, Seniors

    I think the boys intended to learn how to dance from the chickens, to better prepare for the prom. It’s also a shame that the chickens did better on their SAT scores than the soon-to-graduate HS seniors in this story. American HS students = farm league of education in US…pun intended.

  • tornado2828

    just let a woodbridge nj student proclaim his love of Jesus Christ on school property, and the kid will be beheaded before 3pm.

  • Frank_PA

    The police got involved because the school has a “zero tolerance” policy towards chickens. Now if they had been turkeys it would have been o.k.

  • joe

    Rumors are there is rampant drug use and drug deals in the Woodbridge high school. How about investigating that.

  • Michael

    This is how low we have gotten…We went from calling the people who threw rocks at British Soldiers (aka the police) HEROES, to arresting high school students who played a good senior prank….

    How the mighty have fallen.

  • Dennis Farmer

    Is every person that gets a government check just a jerk? Everyone should have had a good laugh and let it be done. The school officials and cops are a**h*les!

  • Jim S

    I’m fully expecting a Presidential panel on school animal endangerment now, complete with the mizzus lecturing again on the evils of meat….

    • Tim Smith

      Oh no.
      If they had cooked the birds and then shoved them through the window, ME-chelle would have made sure that they ended up on Death Row.

  • tornado2828

    i hope the woodbridge, nj students read these blog comments, copy them and distribute them all over the woodbridge school system (but don’t get caught!!!!!)….

    it is time that the student must teach the teacher and the lame principal, vice principal, school counselor, and grossly overpaid/politically connected superintendent.

    NOTE TO WOODBRIDGE HIGH STUDENTS: thank God you’re getting out of hole in a few months…

  • Dave M

    Reminds me of rolling the orange VW Bug into the middle of the band room in 1974. Everybody had a good laugh and we rolled it back out after school… We got a scolding from the principal and it was over… These modern day academic gestapo tactics need to stop. Can we lighten up a little???

  • Chuck

    The BEST t-shirts ever…

  • tornado2828

    seriously, the students with the chickens did NOT go overboard….it was just a silly prank…the school administration calling the cops DID GO WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY OVERBOARD…..

    another example of how feminized the entire government school system has become… many of the woodbridge, nj ‘men’ teachers would be laughed out of the highly competitive business world….they hang onto their tenure because they know they wouldn’t last a day in the real world of private industry.

  • Jim

    What is up ? Back in the late 80’s , I did a alot worst and nothng happen to me .
    Now this is going to hold them from going to there prom or gradution . WHAT A WAST OF 12YRS .

  • Tinala

    Wimps with no sense of humor. There was a guy who rode a mini bike down the halls of my high school (like Acerdude), and if anything happened to him it was a slap on the wrist. I’m sure the teachers and principal thought it was funny but couldn’t show it. I have a feeling the principal and the complaining mothers in this school were the kids in elementary school who were the tattletales and sneaks. Unless the chickens had bombs strapped to them, the punishment for these pranksters was way over the top

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