A.P. Assassination remains despite recent gun violence

A lot has changed since 1999. Chalkboards are now smartboards and textbooks are websites on tablets. But, A.P. Assassination remains.  Not only that, but its popularity amongst students has grown from just 35 student participants in 1999 to over 130 participants in 2016, despite concerns of its appropriateness.

P. Assassination is a game open to seniors who are enrolled in any AP level course, but is not affiliated with Staples, meaning the game is organized solely by students and played completely outside of school. The game requires all participants to acquire a Nerf blaster, strategize and plan out a way to shoot their assigned targets and then execute their strikes anywhere other than on the Staples campus, at internships or inside the target’s house.

“A.P. Assassination has been around for years mainly due to it’s ability to help students discover unconventional problem-solving methods,” Jonas Piekara ’16, this year’s A.P. Assassination co-organizer with Quinn Hughes ’16, said. “You can’t learn any of the games’ strategies in the classroom, so Staples students have always had fun with the game because it develops independent critical thinking skills that are not applicable in the classroom environment.”

Despite the fun intentions of the game, A.P.      Assassination has come under scrutiny given  the recent gun violence throughout the country, and some question whether it is appropriate to have a game that puts fake weapons in the hands of the students.

“I hate anything with the word ‘assassination’ in it. I hate anything to do with guns,” Karyn Morgan, 12th grade assistant principal, said.

Morgan is not alone in having these concerns. In the 2013 rules document, it clearly warns students to, “not paint your Nerf gun black; in the past, police have drawn guns on participants whose Nerf blasters closely resemble real weapons.”

However, not all people are concerned and many attest to the game being a good experience. Alex Palumbo ’15 made it into the final round of last year’s game, winning part of the winner’s pot because of a deal made with the other two students left. “One person can’t describe the joy in shooting someone with a nerf gun for money, so definitely consider playing,” Palumbo said. Palumbo also went on to say that he felt no reservations about using Nerf guns. “It kind of felt like a prerequisite to flexing my second amendment around town,” he said.

Anna Eichhorn ’16 is also excited about playing in the game. “I’m looking forward to creating intricate plans to get my person out,” Eichhorn said. “I don’t know if I would consider it appropriate or not with gun control issues, but it’s a senior tradition and I’ve never heard of anyone acting too violent.”

Still, while Morgan fully trusts her senior class, she would prefer an alternative way for the A.P. students to have some fun.

“You can play tag, you can race around the beach or something,” Morgan said. “It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”