PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) - As students at Prior Lake High School kickoff their spring Nerf War, school administrators and participating students are making a plea for safety. Last December, two Lakeville South students – Jake Flynn and Johnny Price – died in a rollover crash. There were no witnesses to the crash, but Dakota County sheriff’s investigators said the accident was a direct result of a Nerf Wars game that began at school.
Message to Prior Lake High School families
Friday, March 25
“This afternoon we became aware of a student-planned Nerf War game that is to take place on Monday (3/28) after school. While this Nerf War game is not set to take place during the school day, we want to bring this activity to your attention because we are concerned about student safety.
“A Nerf War is an activity involving a Nerf gun where teams of students shoot foam darts to ‘kill’ opponents on other teams in an effort to win prize money. These games can take place in a wide-range of locations, including cars, parks, homes, or anywhere the teams choose to play.
“Nerf Wars can become dangerous when students get into vehicles and forget to buckle up, or don’t obey traffic laws in an effort to win the game.
“I encourage parents to have a conversation with their student this weekend about making good choices for themselves and others related to this game. We want to reassure you that student safety is our first priority.”
Prior Lake students involved in the Nerf war echoed the concerns of school administrators, calling for participants to obey traffic laws and to "remember that this is just a game."
Plea for safety posted on PL Nerf War 2016 Twitter account
“The Nerf war can get crazy at times, but I am begging you to always remember to take precautions when you are in a vehicle. You are not the only people on the road, and just because you may not harm yourself, it doesn’t mean you won’t harm others. When you are in a neighborhood you MUST drive the speed limit. You never know when a little kid will be outside playing. When you are on a busier road, there is ABSOLUTELY NO speeding allowed. Our Nerf war has never allowed taking hostages or kidnapping people, and it will not allow it this year either. I am begging you to always remember that this is just a game, and that you should never recklessly maneuver your vehicle. Your vehicle is a MUCH DEADLIER weapon than your Nerf gun is. A Nerf gun can figuratively kill someone; a vehicle can literally kill someone. The entire community’s safety relies on our Nerf war.”
The school estimates 120 students are playing Nerf Wars, and anticipates the game to last about 2 to 3 weeks. Prior Lake police have been alerted and will remain on the lookout for dangerous driving behaviors.
Statement from Lakeville school district
"We are aware of the situation in our neighboring district, and we appreciate the Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools’ leaders for their efforts to reach out to us to keep us informed.
"The issue of teenagers playing “nerf wars” in our community came to our district officials’ attention around the time our district lost two students in a motor vehicle crash in December, as it had not been something that occurred on school property or during the school day. Our school community still grieves their tragic loss. The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office has indicated Nerf Wars brought the students together. It is our understanding that the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
"We encourage parents and their children to have conversations about safe driving the activities and games their students take part in, as well as the importance of there being times and places for those activities."