Eden Prairie police are asking high school students to use caution if they participate in a game of Nerf Wars, according to a police department blog post.
Police believe that students at Eden Prairie High School are planning a game in May, and wrote in the post that participating can lead to reckless behavior. In 2015, two students at Lakeville South High died in a car crash while playing the game. In 2018, the mothers of the two students spoke with WCCO about the dangers of the game and reckless driving.
In 2016, students playing Nerf Wars caused another crash in New Hope, injuring two people in another car, Eden Prairie police's blogpost said. The 17-year-old driver was charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular operation, according to the post.
There hasn't been a major incident related to Nerf Wars in Eden Prairie, said School Resource Officer TJ Henderson, but the department typically receives a few 911 calls about reckless driving or speeding related to Nerf Wars whenever it happens. The calls tend to be about the behavior of Nerf Wars participants rather than a resident mistaking a Nerf gun for a real weapon, Henderson said.
"We're going to do the same things we do all the time, whether there are Nerf Wars or not," he said.
What is Nerf Wars?
The game consists of teams of students shooting each other with Nerf guns to "kill" or eliminate competitors. It is not sponsored or sanctioned by EPHS, the blog post notes.
"In the past few years, police in the metro area have responded to numerous Nerf War-related calls including motor vehicle accidents with injuries, property damage, suspicious activity and disorderly conduct," the blog post says. "Participants engrossed in a game of Nerf Wars often find themselves driving recklessly, forgetting to use seat belts, driving at dangerous speeds and disregarding traffic laws."
Eden Prairie police shared safety tips for any students planning to participate, advising them to:
- Never play the game in or near a moving vehicle,
- Use caution when playing on public property or in neighborhoods,
- Be respectful of others who are using public spaces,
- Use brightly colored Nerf guns that are obviously not real firearms, and
- Put down any Nerf-style gun immediately if you encounter police, and follow officers' instructions.
Henderson noted that the game itself isn't inherently dangerous.
"If kids are having fun and doing everything safe, we probably won't get any calls," he said.