A New Jersey high school has considered canceling its annual Nerf gun tournament in wake of the Florida high school massacre that left 17 people dead in February.
Thomas Gorman, the Ridgewood High School principal, said in a letter to parents that he is discouraging students from participating in the event “because of the heightened awareness of shootings,” according to NorthJersey.com.
“Although students use Nerf guns during these games, the strategies employed by students to target other teams may be misinterpreted in today's climate,” Gorman wrote in the letter.
The Nerf gun tournament, known at the school as Dart Wars, has been conducted for more than 10 years, according to NorthJersey.com.
The tournament normally runs from March to June and is conducted during off hours. The toys are not allowed on campus.
For $15, a student joins teams of four that try to shoot each other after school and throughout the weekends. The rules prohibit players from altering their Nerf guns to make them look real.
“Although students use Nerf guns during these games, the strategies employed by students to target other teams may be misinterpreted in today's climate."
Ridgewood police Chief Jacqueline Luthcke told NorthJersey.com that perceived danger and public safety are an important issue surrounding this year’s Dart Wars.
“In this day and age, any type of game that involves running around with any kind of gun increases people's fear,” she said. “You can't tell from a distance if it's a fake gun."