Four more teenagers apologized Sept. 20 in Delaware County Juvenile Court after admitting to contaminating with bodily fluids the food they served to Olentangy Hyatts Middle School teachers in May.
The students, who were all 14-year-old boys and eighth-graders at the time of the incident, faced the juvenile equivalent of felony assault charges for what one boy described as a prank inspired by their classmates.
One boy, charged with delinquency felony assault, was sentenced to 30 days in juvenile detention for adding a classmate's urine to a batch of barbecue sauce served to teachers in a class cooking competition. He said he got the idea after he heard about his friends in an earlier class who added semen to crepes and served them to a teacher.
The other three boys were charged with delinquency complicity to assault on a teacher for participating, aiding and abetting or doing nothing to stop the acts.
Two other students charged with complicity to assault denied their involvement Sept. 20 and will be back in court in the fall.
Juvenile court Judge David Hejmanowski gave the four boys similar sentences to those of their two classmates sentenced Sept. 16 for lacing crepes with semen. The judge made clear that he viewed their actions as far more severe than a simple "prank."
"We gotta stop calling this a prank," Hejmanowski said during one hearing. "This is an assault."
Hejmanowski sentenced two boys to 30 days in juvenile detention; the other two boys were sentenced to 20 days.
All of the students also were sentenced to community control, as well as shadowing food-safety inspectors, writing apology letters to their teachers and completing 100 hours of community service. Their community service will include cleaning around the Delaware County jail and public park bathrooms.
"If you and your friends are so interested in urine, you can spend the next few months cleaning bathrooms," Hejmanowski told one student.
Their detention sentences are based on successful completion of their other tasks; failure to complete all assignments will result in additional detention.
"You certainly gained notoriety from this incident, but likely not in the way you intended," Hejmanowski said.
In addition to Hejmanowski's sentences, each student also was suspended from school for up to a semester, is prohibited from participating in school activities and has been punished by their parents.
Each boy cried as they listened to four of their former teachers share stories about the months of betrayal, violation and disrespect they felt after discovering they'd been served tainted food.
One male teacher described how one of his favorite days of the year, the annual Iron Chef cooking competition, became one marked with horror after learning what he'd eaten.
"You stood there as you fed me your classmates' urine. You looked at me with a smile as you told me you made it yourself," he said. "You stood to gain laughs. What I got was tears."
Each described a summer of hospital visits and humiliation as they tried to reconcile with what had happened.
"Your idea of a prank has made me second-guess my career as a teacher," said one female teacher. "I put my heart and soul into my job every year, and this is what I get in return?"
Another female teacher recalled paralyzing anxiety she felt about being questioned by people who knew. She canceled summer travel plans and put graduate school on the back burner.
A second male teacher told the students that he no longer enjoys eating out because he doesn't trust food he can't see be prepared.
"I will always be one of the teachers who ate students' urine," he said.
All of the boys sentenced faced their former teachers to apologize.
"I'm so sorry. This was a dumb prank that I never thought through all the way," one boy said between sobs. "I never imagined what it would be like for you guys. I really hope you can forgive me one day."