SplatRball shut down by administration

How it started, differs from game’s original intent


photo or infographic by Wildkat Medis

JUST SAY NO. A recent email sent by administration reminded students of the rules related to pellet and bb guns including water pellet guns known as splatRball guns.

Students will be held accountable for playing or bringing splatRball guns to campus according to the email sent out by administration on Feb. 15. Students have been shooting water pellets at one another in the parking lot as well as inside the building, but the original creators of the game in Willis did not intend for the game to enter school grounds. 

“I was part of the original group outside of school,” senior *James Williams said. “I don’t wanna associate with the group that brings them to school because I don’t want to get in trouble for a game. I think it’s dumb like why would you bring them to school. I read the email, but I don’t care because it’s not associated with me.” 

BB and pellet guns are not allowed on campus or in the parking lots. Penalties, according to an email from Joshua Kelley sent out to students and parents, include the possibility of up to 45 days in alternative school. 

“I think they’re just trying to prove a point like with the tardies,” senior Dawson Davidson said. “They don’t like it so that’s why they’re putting a ban on it. I don’t think it will stop students from bringing them.” 

The splatRball gun trend began on TikTok and found its way to Willis, encouraging some high schoolers to create a game of their own. They all got on a Life360 together to track on another through Willis and Conroe to shoot water beads at each other from windows of moving vehicles. 

“It started off on TikTok and got to the boys group chat,” senior *John Smith said. “It spread like wildfire from there. Now, we have a group chat of about 40-50 people, but there are probably about 70-80 people who play. I don’t do it in class because I don’t want to get in trouble.” 

Those who originally brought the game to Willis began a group chat for all game participants. They divided into teams, and they set out rules for the players. 

“When we started, we had three really set in stone rules, and these rules were no freezing them, no shooting at work and home if you live with your parents and not in school,” senior *Andy Scott said. “We made the rules because people started to take things too far and barge into work and start shooting, and people were almost getting fired for it, so we made some rules.” 

When we started, we had three really set in stone rules, and these rules were no freezing them, no shooting at work and home if you live with your parents and not in school.

Recently, students have been bringing these splatRball guns to school to play in the parking lot and on campus. According to Smith, those playing in classrooms and bathrooms were not even a part of the original group. They do not abide by the same rules as the original players. 

“They kind of joined in,” Smith said. “They don’t follow the rules that we set to keep everyone safe and out of trouble and give us a bad rap. If those people hadn’t hopped in, no one would even know about it.” 

The game is not only affecting the players with penalties from administration but the bystanding students who don’t participate. Some are now more cautious in the parking lot to avoid getting hit with any water pellets before first period.

“Every morning when I get out of my car, I hear the ‘ch ch ch’ sound,” senior Jack Wiebe said. “I haven’t been shot yet, but I move when I see someone I know is playing. I’ve had to move spots because I know what’s about to happen. I’ve had some golf kids ask their parents to take money out of their savings for spat guns because they don’t want to get shot. ” 

Nonparticipants also have a chance of getting shot within the walls of the school building. Some have been shot at in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms.  

“It’s pretty crazy, kind of funny though,” freshman David Jackson said. “It’s scary when someone comes into the locker room and just starts shooting at you. We were all hiding in the bathrooms and showers to stay safe.” 

Although some students have been negatively affected by the game on campus, it is not an issue for others. 

“I think it’s okay because it’s after school and no one is getting hurt,” sophomore Stetson Bagwell said. “I think they should allow us to have it at school. I don’t own one, but it doesn’t hurt.” 

Some believe the game has been taken to extremes, but those extremes are caused by the people who do not follow the rules set by original players.

“I think they took it too far bringing it to school because it is a weapon,” junior *Bob Ryan said. “ I feel like it’s just pretty immature, especially for the seniors. I think that people got peer pressured into buying them and then bringing them to school. I don’t think it should be 45 days in Stubblefield. You should definitely get a week or two of ISS just because it’s immature.” 

Due to the game on campus and measures taken by the administration, some students will now be penalized for having the splatRball guns in school and in their vehicles in the parking lot. 

 “It can’t destroy property,” *Smith said. “I’ve even been shot in the eye with it, and it doesn’t hurt, so it’s not that bad. Most of us are doing it outside of school. It’s very rare that it’s in school, and in our group chat, we’ve made rules that we won’t do it in school.”

*Some students names have been changed to protect their identity