Safety of Stillwater’s Annual Nerf War


Photo submitted by Addie DeMars

Sophomore Jawhn Cockfield with his first kill on Addie DeMars during war at Stillwater Public Works, on April 9. Adding to the 69 recorded kills in the first two days.

Harper Estenson, Podcast Reporter

This year’s annual Stillwater Nerf War started on April 8. With the first kill from junior Alazar Jamal on senior Anthony Toscano at 11 p.m., by April 10 there had been 69 recorded kills, 20 of which had already been revived.  And this was just a start to the war.  Although this is a great way to take some pressure off kids and help them be kids again, there are also many safety concerns. The Stillwater Police Department sent out a Facebook message on April 14 reminding kids to be safe as they have responded to a few calls regarding the game and questionable activity.  

For more background, this is a competition of Stillwater High School students created as a school-wide game with three admins, who “regulate the game, answer players questions, handle the money, and oversee and record kills,” senior admin Joe Krenz said.

Students sign up in teams for $5 per person to try and beat others.  Each team has about four to eight people, and you and your team try to shoot other people on other teams with guns. Once a person is killed they are out of the game unless they get “revived.”  To get revived your team needs ten kills or your team needs to find a care package. A care package is hidden somewhere in Stillwater and admins give hints to where they are. Although not all care packages are to get revived it is one way.  Each team needs three kills a week in order to keep all alive team members in the game.  The winner is decided by the last team standing, with no specific end date, the winning team gets all the money in entry fees.  

Many parents and people in the community are worried that this war is dangerous and that kids may be going too far to get a kill.  

Junior Addie DeMars explained this is actually not the case at all, and sometimes the rules of the game are what strikes controversy.

“The rules are clear, but the way people listen to them or not. There’s a lot of fighting on people who were shot or were not shot,” DeMars said. “It is also what is keeping the game safe.” 

“In the end, everyone is just glad to be out and see each other especially with the crazy year we have had.

— Krenz

Krenz, seniors admin Carson Arco and Tayo Afuye would consider making and obtaining these rules as their main job. There are tons of rules regarding cars to keep kids safe like no shooting into a car and no shooting out of a car.  On top of this, there are also rules on “safe zones” such as school, home, place of work, and church to help keep privacy and safety within the game as well as penalties for those who don’t obey the rules, whether that means they are disqualified from the war or their kill is taken back. 

“If a player violates the rules we contact them right away to address the situation,” Krenz said.

With the worry of dangerous behavior many look past the fact that other things such as inclusivity could be a problem in the war. 

DeMars, on the team “Bad Butchers,” assures people that this is not the case. “It is inclusive, but you have to get yourself involved.”

“It is open for everyone except freshmen. They can’t drive which makes it harder,” Krenz said.

“I just really paired up with my friends. Some of them are strategic for people who I’m friends with but are kind of predominantly in other friend groups so that we could possibly set up and kill their friends that I don’t know as well,” DeMars said. 

It is a great way to get to know new people in a fun light-hearted way. With all of the stress and pressure of school and home life, this may be just the way to get student’s minds off of all that and just have fun with their friends. 

The point of this game is to bring not only the school but the community together.  This war is a great way to get to know new people and get closer with those you do know. This war is so fun for all of the community, even those not directly involved in the game, it is so fun for people to follow and watch as friends battle.  

“The point of the war is ultimately to have fun and of course win, a downside is some kids lose sight of that during the game,” Krenz said.