The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Senior assassin sparks debate over student safety

WCHS seniors Ryan You and Darian Tamami climb onto a car windshield during Senior Assassin.
Photo courtesy of @ChurchillAssassin24
WCHS seniors Ryan You and Darian Tamami climb onto a car windshield during “Senior Assassin.”

Broken windshields. Football arena brawls. Food fights and aggravated assault. All of these events have taken place at WCHS in the past and have worsened in recent years. To counteract these incidents, MCPS staff have consistently issued new rules and disciplinary action against violating students. However, safety concerns persist and requests are increasingly being made for students to take the initiative to ensure a safe environment in school.

As they have done in previous years, MCPS issued warnings for students to check their behavior on campuses and for families to discuss safety responsibility with their children in light of the participation in “Senior Assassin,” a celebratory water-gun competition to mark seniors’ high school graduation. Warnings came after a student broke a car’s windshield during an attempt to take out a rival player. Students have also accidentally engaged non-participants, causing further controversy. 

“First of all, the rules of ‘Senior Assassin’ should be clearly listed at all times, so everyone understands what is allowed,” WCHS senior Eric Li said. “Also, a roster of all involved combatants should be updated daily to make sure no civilians are harmed during the event. Additionally, if these rules are broken, appropriate consequences should be issued immediately to prevent them from happening in the future, for example reducing the prize pool or suspending them from participating.”

Li says that he feels unsafe due to other student behavior, especially vaping, and not because of student-run events. But in order to prevent PR problems such as those in “Senior Assassin”, Li thinks MCPS must put more trust in students, with the hope that it would encourage better behavior.

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“MCPS should back down, they should just let seniors enjoy their last year in high school instead of being overly concerned about their safety,” Li said. “When MCPS places trust in students to prevent issues, it motivates students to not violate that trust similarly to how you would feel more obliged to doing chores on your own fruition instead of being forced to by your parents.”

WCHS junior Jeremy Kwon, a member of WCHS’ student leadership board, the Student Government Association (SGA), argues that MCPS concerns are warranted and well-intentioned. While specific incidents may arise at school events such as “Senior Assassin,” past events have led MCPS to be excessively cautious.

“I believe that MCPS’ warnings about safety concerns are reasonable,” Kwon said. “It is important that the county takes the safety of its students and staff seriously, and their warnings are based on genuine considerations. There have been past instances of security breaches and drug use which justify the need for vigilance. By taking proactive measures, MCPS maintains a secure environment for all.”

Although MCPS works to create guidelines for its students, Kwon knows that part of that responsibility lies with student government leadership at the county level when organizing events that go beyond the annual prom. Despite this, the resources available to the SGA are limited to the school level.

“The SGA utilizes resources that are already provided by the school,” Kwon said. “Given that the SGA’s budget is primarily allocated for prom expenses, we depend on the [other] resources made available to us following county guidelines. [We] often collaborate with school administrators and security personnel in order to implement the proper safety measures for events.”

Kwon says that these MCPS regulations primarily apply to logistics details, such as venue selection, capacity limits and student-staff contact. According to MCPS’s Department of Safety and Security, responses to specific threats are coordinated with local law enforcement agencies, meaning that student leadership has a limited role in addressing specific behavior.

“Because it is impossible to regulate the behavior of each individual student, much of the responsibility lies with students to keep themselves safe,” Kwon said. “Having these school events is a privilege, and in order to ensure the continuation of enjoyable, less restrictive events at [WCHS], students need to be accountable for their own actions and make personal decisions that don’t put the safety of themselves or others in jeopardy.”

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Isar Uslu
Isar Uslu, Assistant News Editor
Isar Uslu is a junior and the Assistant News Editor of the Observer. In his free time, he likes to play board games, cook and watch YouTube videos.

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