School for Deaf Children Receives $50,000 after Internet Prank Backfires

When it comes to Internet pranks, sometimes they are good-natured, harmless, and fun, but then there are those pranks designed to be mean-spirited. One of the latest Internet pranks involves country music superstar Taylor Swift and a contest for a concert giveaway to the school with the most Facebook votes. Mischievous members of the Internet community known as 4chan and some members of social news site Reddit banded together to have Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, located in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, win the Papa John's and Chegg's-sponsored free concert.

More than 14,000 schools participated in the contest to have Taylor Swift perform on their campus. Thousands of people voted for the Horace Mann School, and when principal Jeremiah Ford heard about the prank, he was not offended. Instead Ford said that even though his students are disabled, a Taylor Swift concert would be a welcome event for the student body because his students love live music. Ford also said that coming in as a runner-up would still be a victory for his school, despite some of the votes coming from mean-spirited pranksters.

So it appears the mean-spirited prank may have backfired. Even though the school took itself out of the running for the concert, shortly after the prank began, the school, Taylor Swift, and the concert's sponsors came to an agreement. Twift donated $10,000 to the school and free tickets to every Horace Mann student for her next Boston show. Contest sponsors Chegg, a textbook company, and Papa John's, as well as American Greetings and Cover Girl, each chipped in $10,000 -- making the total amount of donations $50,000.

In addition, VH1's Save the Music program will give Horace Munn School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing $10,000 worth of free instruments for its students. And though the school was not the official winner of the contest, perhaps the school won after all, with the outpouring of love and support.

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