VBCPS discourages ‘Senior Assassin’ amidst ‘climate around shootings in schools and communities nationwide’

Joseph Gonzalez, Staff Writer

In May 2023’s Cavalier Connection, PA’s monthly newsletter sent to parents, PA Principal Todd Tarkenton shared the Virginia Beach City Publics Schools’ (VBCPS) stance towards student participation in the game “Senior Assassin.” This message echoes worries about student safety in their community.

Given the recent rise in awareness and publication of gun violence, concerns over student safety, even outside the school campus, school officials are urging students to remain safe and careful outside of school. Senior assassin, a game amongst graduating seniors in which teams compete to eliminate one another via water-guns off school ground, among other rules, has caused concern as students often venture in neighborhoods to eliminate fellow competitors.

In the monthly newsletter, Principal Tarkenton included VBCPS’ stance, “As we approach the end of the school year, we know there are many traditions and celebrations that our seniors are looking forward to participating in. It has recently come to our attention that one of those traditions… has been the playing of … ‘Senior Assassin.’ With the current climate around shootings in schools and communities nationwide, we feel it is important for us to strongly discourage our students from engaging in this game, on or off school property… We stress that this is purely out of our desire for all of our students to remain safe and to prevent any type of unfortunate incidents from taking place. For example, if a student were to be seen lurking outside of a business or a home to ‘tag’ another player and a neighbor or citizen were to see them but not understand the context of the game, they may become fearful, contact law enforcement or even take action to address what they could perceive as a person with a weapon. We do not want to see anyone hurt and do not want our students to create potential scenarios for concern amongst our community.”

Despite the school division’s discouragement, ‘Senior Assassin’ is continuing, according to several anonymous PA seniors.