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'Assassins' Game Comes to Richfield High School

The game is growing nationwide.

After discovering that more than 100 Richfield Public Schools students were engaged in "Assassins"—a game that is becoming more and more popular among kids across the nation— Principal reached out to parents through two e-mails Friday.

"Assassins" is a seemingly harmless kids' game that involves a "hit list" of fellow players. Players stalk their targets and use toy guns, such as Nerf guns, to shoot the targets in the long-running game. Fuchs told Richfield Patch he has gotten reports of kids jumping out of cars at stoplights to carry out their missions.

The following are the emails sent to parents:

E-mail No. 1

Good morning Richfield Community-

This is a very serious alert that I want parents to be aware of regarding their children potentially. Yesterday it came to my attention that more than 100 students at Richfield High are playing a game called assassination. Students are using toy guns to play a game that involves stalking, sneaking up on, and shooting a toy gun at classmates in a long running game to the finish. This is occurring off campus to the best of our knowledge. This game has become nationally popular.
While kids are playing a game that many of us may view as child hood behavior, we live in a much different era. Please refer to the article that is attached if you would like to read about some of the national incidents.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-center-for-public-integrity/fatal-texas-shooting-high_b_1204490.html

The way students engage in these games creates situations that could cause them great harm. I would like to imagine that one of our students who are playing a perceived game would never be shot out of fear as a result of this game, but I refuse to not acknowledge that it happens.
In the information I was given we were told that the students were not playing it on school grounds and were doing this out in the community. They are not being conscious of what the community is seeing, would think, or more importantly how they may react.
Any student caught with a toy/replica gun on campus or caught engaged in this game on campus will be suspended with the possibility of expulsion.

E-mail No. 2

Richfield Community,

I am writing to follow up regarding the email that was sent this morning. After having the opportunity to investigate the matter of the NERF WARS I wanted to ensure that Richfield High School continues to review items of concern.

A student wanted to organize a community building event for junior and seniors only. The student took several steps to ensure that participants in the NERF WARS were not violating school rules including handing out a set of rules that stated, “You also are NOT allowed to have guns in your lockers or anywhere in school.”

However, students have not been following the rules and have been playing with these NERF guns on campus grounds. An announcement reminding students that having any type perceived weapon was an offense that could result in suspension this morning. An email was later sent out notifying students they could turn in their NERF guns at the office and not face consequences. From that point forward any student found with a NERF gun or any other type of play gun as according to our student handbook on school grounds would be suspended.

When the initial email went out I received several phone calls that some members of the community were concerned with how students were playing the game and taking unnecessary risks, like jumping out of cars while at stop signs and stop lights and running up to other cars to “assassinate” other students. I personally am concerned about how community members may react to seeing this behavior from the students. I am responsible for the students during the school day and I have spoken to some students already about this and encouraged them to think about the effects it may have on others and how they may be perceived. In the wrong situation something could go terribly wrong. There are media events that demonstrate this and the article I sent earlier may be seen as a stretch, but please consider the following:

A person is hiding out at night and appears to be stalking someone. A resident who does not know that students are playing this game calls the police. As the officer arrives at night and he sees the “suspicious” person with an item in their hands under the shadow of night that they cannot make out.

I personally, as a Richfield resident, do not want our kids in this situation. I also do not want to operate from fear either, but we need teach our kids how to construct fun events without effects or interruptions to the community.  I will discuss this matter further at our next PSE meeting, Monday May 14th.  I will continue to focus my leadership on the school day and I am always open for discussion on how our students interact in the community outside of the school day.

Richfield Patch is sitting down with Fuchs next week to discuss the wider scope of the issue.

Editor's Note: Richfield Patch originally published an article detailing some of the issues the district has with this game. It was taken down shortly after publishing so we could get more in-depth information from Fuchs and the school district. We want all our articles to be thorough and objective. This topic is sensitive and we want to make sure we have the facts. Stay tuned for more.

Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 12, 2012 at 06:48 PM
You may be right, Brad. It is after all just a game. But I think there are deeper concerns, which I'm hoping to get to early next week when I sit down with school officials.
Anonymous Student May 14, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Richfield Seniors have been playing this game for YEARS, it is nothing new. this year it is just a lot more students this year.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 14, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I personally never heard of this game while I was a student there in the early 2000s. But, I asked some co-workers about it wondering if they have heard of it other towns and apparently I was the one out of the loop. I don't think the school is deliberately trying to harp on your fun; it's a safety concern. But, please share your feelings. Do you think the school is over-reacting?

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