Senior Assassin Shutdown Brings Mixed Student Reactions

Following arrests in Old Lyme, the MSMHS administration shut down the water gun tournament "Senior Assassin."

Senior Assassin Shutdown Brings Mixed Student Reactions
Photography by Kaiden Chandler.

By Kaiden Chandler

Editor-in-Chief. Class of 2024

After Tuesday’s administrator shutdown of the grade-wide water gun tournament “Senior Assassin,” MSMHS principal Ms. Amatrudo put out a statement explaining the reasons for the tournament’s closing.

Her statement detailed arrests that took place in Old Lyme this week in a similar water gun-based tournament. The arrests occurred after two teenagers hid in bushes on the Lyme-Old Lyme campus while carrying toy water guns, The Day reports.

The two teenagers, brothers ages 16 and 17,  dressed in camouflage and hid in bushes near the town’s preschool, which is on the same campus as both the middle and high school. 911 calls from concerned residents led to a police response, re-routed school buses, and the arrest of the two individuals, who were charged with second-degree breach of the peace.

When the MSMHS administration became aware of the Old Lyme incident, they met with seniors to plan an alternative activity to the water gun tournament, unaware that the MSMHS version of the game had already been organized and was scheduled to begin soon. When the administration learned this information, they quickly moved to shut down the game at MSMHS.

The MSMHS version of Senior Assassin included multiple student-designed guidelines aimed at ensuring a safe version of the game. Students were banned from attacking their targets during school hours or on school property, in places of worship, at work, or in moving vehicles. Any “water-propelling device” was allowed to be used in tagging targets.

The game also included a monetary reward. Students paid a set fee to join the game, which was added to a shared pot. Participants were randomly assigned and would then work their way through the bracket by tagging other players with water. The last player left standing was awarded the full sum of money.

In her statement on the Senior Assassin, Ms. Amatrudo said that, while the shutdown may be upsetting to students, there are other events this spring for seniors to participate in, including school-sanctioned events like prom and non-school organized activities like Senior Skip Day. However, she noted in an interview with The Current that MSMHS only takes action when the administration feels the school is affected saying, "It only impacts me if it comes back here."

Students had mixed reactions to this news. Evan Hespeler, an MSMHS junior and one of the event’s organizers said, “It’s both good and bad … [but] I spent time outlining rules to avoid those [dangerous] instances,” such as those in Old Lyme.

Many students empathized with the school’s desire to promote student safety but still expressed disappointment in how the decision went. Charlie Bergendahl, a participating senior, said “I understand the administration’s concern. However, I wish they had more trust in us.” Senior Roan Schaffer also had mixed feelings, saying “It’s kind of unfortunate,” adding, “I think it’s good that they stopped it before anything safety-wise happened.”

Some of the seniors planning to participate in the tournament said that, while they were disappointed, the shutdown did not have a major impact on them. One anonymous student said “I understand where Ms. Amatrudo is coming from. I was originally going to participate … [but the shutdown is] not that big of a deal.” Senior Gabriel Fletcher echoed this feeling, saying “I don’t think we should make a big fuss about it honestly. I don’t think it’s fair. But I don’t think we should freak out about it.”

The Current