High School Says Squirt Gun Game Is 'Very Dangerous, Serious Safety Issue'

Parents, do not talk to your kids about 'Squirt Gun Assassin.'

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Squirt gun
Dreamstime

A Pittsburgh public school principal is urging parents to talk to their kids about a "serious safety issue." No, it's not guns, or even lookalike guns. The principal is worried about squirt guns, which are absolutely prohibited at Hempford Area Senior High School. 

Their use outside of school grounds is also frowned upon, according to principal Kathy Charlton, who recently sent a letter home to parents warning them about "very dangerous" squirt gun games being played by students. 

Hempford seniors are engaged in a continuous game of "Squirt Gun Assassin," according to CBS Pittsburgh. The game involves—you guessed it—teenagers shooting each other with water guns. Charlton's letter to parents claims that participants have been known to chase each other in cars, and some money has changed hands. But the letter does not document a single tangible incident in which a kid got hurt. 

"We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game," wrote Charlton. "We appreciate your help and support, because we do not want to see anyone tragically injured or harmed due to participation in this activity." 

No one wants kids to get tragically injured. But at the same time, no one should want them to lead dull, sheltered lives. Playing with squirt guns is a natural, time-honored childhood tradition—not something to be feared or discouraged. 

So, Pittsburgh-area parents: Please don't talk to your kids about Squirt Gun Assassin. Tell them to go outside and have fun for a change. 

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  1. “Their use outside of school grounds is also frowned upon, according to principal Kathy Charlton”

    Fuck. You.

    1. Yeah, so this beeotch is frowning on something which is totally out of her control to prohibit. Does anyone really care? I bet she thinks someone cares. It’s sort of sad really, and pathetic.

    2. Of course, if you read the actual letter, at no point does the principal actually “frown” upon playing the game outside of school grounds. Indeed, the letter only mentions that the game is not “sanctioned” by the school.

      But, you know, can’t build a narrative without a Robbyism or two.

      1. I mean, the principal actually wrote “the game appears to be a fun and exciting activity for teens”.

        Fuck you, Robby.

        1. In the past week, there have been incidents of teens chasing each other in cars, teens chasing school buses, and teens stalking each other in public places such as the mall, restaurants, and at private homes.

          Of the six separate locations/incidents mentioned, I see exactly *1* that falls explicitly and squarely within the principal’s jurisdiction.

          Fuck off, HM.

          1. Yes, how dare I point out that Soave is mendaciously editorializing events to fit your pre-conceived narrative.

            Go fuck yourself, you dullard.

            1. We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game

              Yeah, that in no way implies disapproval by the principal.

              1. Disapproval of the game or of how this group of students are playing it?

              2. In other words, if I wrote “I hope you will write the Commissioner of Baseball to urge him to discontinue the DH-rule in the American League”, does that mean I “frown” upon the game baseball?

            2. We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game

              Yeah, that in no way implies disapproval by the principal.

        2. Wait, what?

          Good Christ! That’s not how our team is supposed to play.

          Mulatto, you are my new hero!

          1. That’s not how our team is supposed to play.

            I think you’re going to be disappointed by ‘your team’. Libertarianism is, at best, a treatment for slanted presentation and partisan reporting; not a full-throated vaccination against it.

            Even HM will advocate purging books from our consciousness if he feels they aren’t up to his personal muster.

            1. HM will advocate purging books from our consciousness if he feels they aren’t up to his personal muster.

              What the fuck are you talking about, you lying piece of shit.

            2. Oh, wait. You have a sad because I don’t masturbate daily to the French-version of Turner Diaries like you do? Is that what this is all about you pathetic little man?

        3. The principal actually wrote Although the game appears to be a fun and exciting activity
          for teens, there have been incidents recently that add a very dangerous element to the game.

          IOW, dismissing this game as just kids being kids is naive and ignorant, because it’s really dangerous and deadly!

          Fuck you, HM. Idiot.

          1. No, fuck you, you thin-skinned hysterical ninny. Can you actually provide an argument that isn’t a willful misreading of what she actually wrote? You can’t, as you’re an intellectually dishonest piece of shit.

            Oh, and you forgot to switch handles.

      2. I’ll give Robby a pass on that one, based on this (from the letter):

        In the past week, there have been incidents of teens chasing each other in cars, teens chasing school buses,
        and teens stalking each other in public places such as the mall, restaurants, and at private homes.

        . . . .

        We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game.

        She refers to off-campus activities, and asks that parents put a stop to participation in the game (by implication, everywhere, not just at school).

        1. Dammit!

        2. She’s not “frowning” on the game, per se. She noted that this incarnation of it is being taken too far by some students. And she’s not asking “that parents put a stop to participation in the game” as you claim; her words are “We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game.” Again, you can state that what kids do outside of school grounds is none of her business, but her request was written in a much more reasonable and even-handed tone than you or Robby claim. Of course, a principle politely asking parents to assist in helping solve a problem doesn’t fit the narrative of blundering, petty tyrant school administrators, which is why I’m sure the fact that the police had become involved in several of these incidents wasn’t mentioned in the OP.

          1. And she’s not asking “that parents put a stop to participation in the game” as you claim; her words are “We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game.”

            She’s not asking parents to put a stop to participation, she’s just hoping they’ll speak to their kids to urge them to stop participating. And that somehow means something different to you?

            1. And that somehow means something different to you?

              Umm…yes. How could you not see the difference?

              ‘Coercion’ ain’t just a river in Egypt.

          2. seemed pretty frowny to me…just sayin’

            1. seemed pretty frowny to me…just sayin’

              Aren’t you glad someone provided a link to the actual letter so that we could each read it ourselves in its full context and form our own opinion of the matter in good consciousness?

              1. lulz

                Don’t get in the way of a good context-free righteous freakout. Pretty soon they’ll accuse you of reading books like a faggot or something.

                1. I just want to say that I have no quarrel with Radioactive or Roger who disagree with my reading of the tone of the letter in good faith. This is about Robby’s editorialization of an event to fit a preconstructed narrative (one that he has made a living from pushing) through omission and selective quoting, and those commenters/enablers who get hot under the collar, for whatever reason, when you point that out.

                  1. You know what the reasons are. Outrage is fun, in-group signaling is fun, reading is for faggots. Come on.

      3. HM, with all due respect because I think you are an above average commenter here, but

        We hope you will speak to your child to urge them to discontinue participation in this game. We appreciate
        your help and support, because we do not want to see anyone tragically injured or harmed due to
        participation in this activity.

        sounds like see does indeed frown upon playing the game outside of school grounds but, in a rare acknowledgement of the bounds of her authority, realizes that it is beyond her power to prohibit activities outside of school grounds. That or she is aware of the possibility of the police shooting a student for horseplay taking place outside of a sanctioned activity organized by an insured party and taking place within a permitted area.

        1. sounds like see does indeed frown upon playing the game

          As I mentioned to RC Dean, it’s not the game, which she describes as a “fun and exciting activity for teens”, that she is “frowning” upon but the fact that some students have taken it too far and placed themselves in danger. Particularly, as some other commenters have mentioned, such games are often “senior traditions”, thus the principal is doing her job in legally covering-her-ass in noting that the school has no official connection to the game. Again, through selective quoting of the letter, a quite reasonable request from a school administrator to parents for assistance in preventing a serious injury is used as cheap click-bait outrage-fodder for slope-browed grunters like mad.casual up-thread.

          And to think, they fired Lucy for spelling errors.

          1. … which she describes as a “fun and exciting activity…”

            Actually, she did not describe it thusly. Rather, she wrote, “Although the game appears to be a fun and exciting activity…” (emphasis added).

            If she had described it as you suggest, she would have written, “Although the game is a fun and exciting activity…”

        2. And, hey man, thanks for the civility.

          *respectful dude nod*

          1. This is what happens when you fail to post twerkin’ videos HM. The mob turns on you. All we want is bread and twerkuses.

              1. Was that really so hard?

        3. “HM, with all due respect [citation needed] because I think you are an above average commenter [citation needed]

          1. He meant above average in adipose tissue, I assume.

          2. PM, you really drag down the mean.

      4. Upon actually reading the letter, the principal does seem to be drawing a very firm line between private time and what happens on school grounds.

        They’ve been chasing busses and each other in cars, people have called the cops.

        Now, this means nothing on it’s face. Still sounds like good clean fun to me, and the principal agrees.

        So it appears that the question we are asking here is this. When is it appropriate for a responsible adult to notify parents of a common local activity which may be going too far? What is it appropriate to recommend as the parent’s proper course of action?

    3. Nicely nuanced, Playa. I think you delivered the message spot on.

      /NOT sarc!

    4. let’s put her up against the wall for a super soaker firing squad!!

  2. Obviously, Robby hates the children and wants the terrorists to win.

    1. that’s just obvious!

  3. Banning them at the school? Makes perfect sense, no need to start gibbering about “safety”.

    Frowning upon them outside of school? Piss off, you dried up old harpy.

    1. You know she’s just mad because these kids are having fun, something she probably has not experienced in a very long time.

      1. fun, something she probably has not experienced in a very long time.

        She did last night.

        1. a couple of sips of sherry does not constitute a boatload of fun

    2. /in quavering old man voice/
      Back in my day…We did in fact play the assassin game At school. The game was administered by the same teacher who ran the War Games (d and d) club.

      No one died for reals.

      1. You had a war games club at your high school?

        Lucky!

        1. I went to a 7-12 school for smart kids, until The Man oppressed me so much I had to leave.

          Many of our teachers actually had PhDs and real world experience.

          The rules were pretty loose at the whole school in many ways. The dress code for example was, if it’s legal to wear on the street, it’s cool.

          Unfortunately, those rules still included attending class more than 40% of the time, so we had to part ways. My fourteen year old self wasn’t gonna hear that noise.

          Jesus, I should have been beaten with a cane.

  4. RE: High School Says Squirt Gun Game Is ‘Very Dangerous, Serious Safety Issue’
    Parents, do not talk to your kids about ‘Squirt Gun Assassin.’

    Squirt game is dangerous.
    Someone might get wet.
    Oh, the horror! The horror!

    1. This must be one of those gateway games that leads to dodgeball…DODGEBALL, people!!!!

      1. or to hose fights…had one of those in college with the building fire hoses…the authorities were not amused, esp by the extinguisher skirmishers (those fuckers cost a lot to refill!)

  5. Be careful Robby, the last time a colleague cut into Lenore Skenazy’s fiefdom she cut into her colleague’s beautiful locks of hair.

  6. Of course you have to ban them off-campus… It teaches children to solve their differences with water instead of lawsuits.

  7. Oh, look. Ms. Charlton had a suit filed against her back in 2007.

    Wrongly jailed Hempfield teen files suit

    All formal criminal charges against Webb were dismissed March 27 after lawyers representing the teenager were able to show that the phoned bomb threat to the school did not come from the boy.

    The Webbs are seeking unspecified financial damages in the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit contends Kathy Charlton, principal at Hempfield high school, and Brian Thomas, a state trooper, failed to adequately investigate the case and did not consider that daylight-saving time had made school clocks unreliable. They accused Webb of making the call. The boy said he merely was calling the school to see if there would be a delay in classes.

    1. Hempford or Hempfield? So which is it? Hemp… this country is going to pot, now they’ve started naming schools after dope.

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  9. Charlton’s letter to parents claims that participants have been known to chase each other in cars

    Yes, much better that they pull up to her mailbox, make a full stop, and use a baseball bats. At least our administrators had actual criminals and felonies to worry about.

    /get off my lawn.

  10. Jesus Christ, this was a senior class rite of passage in small-town northeast Ohio 20+ years ago. EVERY senior class did this. No one complained, except the losers.

  11. Until parents start sending notes back to Kathy Charlton saying “FUCK OFF AND DIE IN A FIRE” this shit will continue and get worse.

  12. An example where this kind of thing did go too far:

    http://www.startribune.com/no-…..375876531/

    1. “This kind of thing”?

      You mean teenagers driving like assholes and not wearing seatbelts?

  13. Well I’m pissed because we didn’t have a “scare” about this nonsense, we actually had a kill themselves here in Minnesoda. Of course it was with Nerf guns instead of squirt guns, so maybe that is why we were ignored here in flyover country.

    And lots of nannies freaked the fuck out over this, but we just sort of ignored them and moved on.

  14. This is actually an extremely dangerous game, because one day some hysterical busybody will call the cops, who will show up, see something that looks kinda vaguely gun-shaped, and immediately open fire while pissing themselves.

  15. I remember doing this in college. Assassin

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin_(game)

    I’m guessing it can’t be played on college campuses these days, since water guns are apparently banned from them

  16. S0 I imagine that this is a mostly dead thread now that it’s ‘below the fold’ as it were but let me get this off my chest.

    I don’t think that anyone is saying that the Principal wasn’t, at least, over-reaching a bit. HM’s (if I may presume his thinking) and I and other’s are objecting to the apparent exaggeration of the Principal’s message, and it is this exaggeration that takes this sorry from “Hmmm, that’s kinda dumb. Another sign of the times.” to full-on face-palm.

    This sort of deliberate hysteria that both the R radio people and the D radio people engage in constantly is inherently dishonest. This “sweetening” of a story to make it a stronger catalyst for outrage is particularly hard to take here at a site that calls out the same behavior in others.

    I not saying Robbie should be pilloried, just denied hair product for a month along with a stern talking to about staying out of the gray.

  17. So, uh, how many points is getting the school administrators worth? Because that would be my reaction to this

  18. In other words, if I wrote “I hope you will write the Commissioner of Baseball to urge him to discontinue the DH-rule in the American League”, does that mean I “frown” upon the game baseball?
    lelai….

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