With COVID-19, most senior traditions have taken a hit. However, Leesville seniors have come together to organize a new tradition starting on April 12: senior assassin.
For decades, high school students have had a tradition of playing senior assassin during the last weeks of school. The game, played at schools and universities across the globe, involves graduating high school students who hunt each other down.
How to sign up
To sign up, seniors must pay $5 to the game organizers. You can either Venmo @makenzie-schlegel-1, or give cash to Makenzie Schlegel or Jacob Wilder in a bag with your name on it.
The game organizers will hold the money until the end of the game when they hand it over to the winner. There will also be a cash prize for the person with the most “kills.”
How it works
In the game, game organizers assign everyone a person to “kill” by spraying them with a water gun in public. If you’re hit, then you’re out of the game and cannot get back in.
Makenzie Schlegel, the “game maker” and LRHS senior, will text or DM participants the name of their target. You have all week to “kill” your assignment, and you must take a picture or video as documentation to send to the game organizers.
The game is about having fun, so Schlegel encourages recording and sending in failed attempts.
“For COVID reasons, please maintain a social distance in your pictures — you can do elbow taps or a socially distanced handshake,” said Schlegel.
Once players have “killed” their assignment, they immediately take that person’s assignment. If you “kill” your target, you’re safe until the next week or round. That is unless the person who has you gets out– in which case game makers reassign you to someone else as a target.
“Sundays are off days that allow the coordinators to assign your new target,” said Schlegel.
The rules allow all types of water guns and water balloons. Things like garden hoses are not allowed.
Players can have physical shields to protect themselves. Any shields must be something you have to actively hold, so things like rain jackets, ponchos, and trash bags do not count.
Senior assassin is not a school-sponsored event.
“Please do not bring this game to school. You’re responsible for your own actions,” said Schlegel.
For that reason, assassinations on school property or during any school event will result in disqualification from the game. Places that are off-limits include:
• Sports practices and games
• Performances held at any school
• Your target’s workplace
• Churches and places of worship
• Your target’s home, including garages (even if they’re open)
• Your target when they’re actively driving
According to the rules, parking lots of places like your target’s work or place or worship are not off-limits.
“Play fair and honest, and remember that the game is designed for seniors to have fun and come together,” said Schlegel.
Concerns over the game
In the era of #marchforourlives and all too frequent school shootings, conversations over if a game in which students “kill” fellow students should continue.
Some parents and students believe “senior assassin” perpetuates an atmosphere of violence.
According to Dr. Anthony Tobia, associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, there isn’t an issue with playing the game.
“The impression I have about the game is as I understand it — that is the Senior Assassins game would not confer any significant risk with regard to violent behavior,” said Tobia via email.
With participants using water guns or water balloons as their weapons, Tobia said he feels even more comfortable from a clinical perspective in saying that the game does not support a propensity for violent behavior.
“It sounds to me that the students have really come together and thought this through,” said Tobia. “Certainly, there is a lot of variability among seniors and among schools, but if they are getting together for team-building, I honestly don’t believe that the use of a water pistol would significantly confer future violence.”
Another concern is for the participant’s health and safety amidst a pandemic.
“I feel like, especially given that we are in the middle of coronavirus, it’s probably not the smartest idea to be driving around and trying to hunt people down,” said Sean Ohmann, senior, via text.
Schlegel and the other game organizers encourage social distancing and wearing a mask while playing.
“We all know not everyone is going to be socially distanced or wearing masks while playing, you can see that from people’s Instagram posts now,” said Ohmann.
Despite the controversy, for the senior class, it is one more bonding moment before they all separate and become high school graduates.