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AP Assassination Season Approaches


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Becca Bobrow ’11
Opinions Editor

It’s spring again in Westport. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and the guns are ready to come out. Nerf guns, that is—for AP Assassination. This time every year, as the greenery reemerges around town, those seniors who have taken Advanced Placement classes prepare to pounce. They buy a gun, black clothing and do whatever they need to do to “kill” their assigned target.

This game, completely student run and banned from occurring on school grounds has been a tradition for AP students for decades. Over the past few years though the game seems to have escalated to a more dangerous activity and the administration has even taken a stance against it. In the March 2010 PTA bulletin “For the Wreckord,” a message from Principal Dodig cautioned students and parents to be wary of participation.

“This is not a school sponsored or sanctioned activity, and is conducted without the approval of the school…We consider this activity to not only be potentially dangerous and disruptive in the community, but also a disruption of the educational process.”

Even so, many students still plan to participate.

“I’m not surprised that the school wouldn’t endorse it. But that doesn’t really bother me,” Michael Sobel ’10, who is excited to play, said. During last year’s game, there were at least four incidents where the police had to be called. Detective Sereniti Dobson of the Westport Police echoed the principal’s feelings on the competition calling it “dangerous and disruptive.” She warned that “all students could face serious consequences” if something were to transpire.

Citing an occurrence from last year, when a girl called 911 screaming that someone was going to attack her, Dobson explained a student could even face criminal charges. The police believe the girl knew who it was with the gun, but thought that by calling 911 she could evade being eliminated. Although never charged, Dobson said the student could have potentially been charged with making a false claim, a felony. Not only could this hurt the student, but also the excess 911 calls also detract from real emergencies around town. The “frivolous calls” waste time Dobson said, and take officers away from their patrol.

Also, when responding to calls the officers are trained to keep their guards up and approach the scene with their guns out and ready if they are led to believe there is a need for it.

“Someone could have gotten hurt. This [scenario] is dangerous for us and for the public,” Officer Ned Batlin said.

The officers also express concern that people around town not involved in the game may see teenagers with guns or lurking around neighborhoods, get scared and make 911 calls. Batlin warns students to “keep in mind the public perception of what they are doing.”

Although the game is very popular, many students choose to opt out. The game, which includes four rounds over the course of three weeks frequently keeps students inside, hiding from their assassins.

“I want to be able to spend the end of my senior year going out,” Grace Lewis ’10, who is not particpating, said.

This seems to be a common sentiment, as Andrea Sherman ’10 agreed, stating that she “does not want to have to be paranoid all the time.”

The Senior Internship Program may also get in the way of participation.

Miles Watterworth ’10, whose internship is in New York City explains that he would have to be extra careful because he would not ever be on school, one of the only places prohibited for assassins to shoot.

“I don’t want to wear roller blades on the train,” he said, referencing the rule that no one can be shot while skating.

Despite rules like this one that work to keep the students safe, community members are still worried about the game. In his letter to parents Dodig communicated this feeling.

“We are concerned about our students, no matter what time of dayit is. We need parental support in not condoning, supporting or participating in this activity in any way. As we rapidly approach graduation, the last thing we need in our community is a tragic injury or loss of any of our students,” Dodig wrote.

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AP Assassination Season Approaches