Various High Schools in NJ are resurrecting the tradition of The Senior Class Assassination Game. In this "game" senior class students contribute between five and ten dollars to participate in a water gun fight elimination tournament. Both group games and individual games are played throughout the state in individual high schools in all of the counties.
The age-old tradition has been put on hold during the last two Covid-filled high school years. Teens are anxious to track down others to eliminate them with water and win the money that had been collected from the players. The rules are clear. The activity does not take place on school grounds. Workplaces or places of worship are areas that are discouraged but not regulated. Both police and parents in the towns are made aware of the activities which can last from late April to the June graduation date. Each student receives the name of another. They are to spray that classmate with water that week. On Sundays, new names of students are chosen if they have not been yet deemed "out".
Concerns included the proliferation of violence in teens. Dr. Anthony Tobia, associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has little concern about the prospects of the game in relation to violence.
“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. Participants use water guns or water balloons as their weapons. Tobia further stated, “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.”
Lingering controversy with regard to The Senior Assassin Game is not a new discussion. However, for senior class high school students it is a time of bonding and laughter before they graduate and separate for their individual life journeys.