Graduation is a time for tradition.
As we near the end of the school year, there’s one longtime activity high school seniors in Simsbury continue to participate in that’s once-again causing frustration for local police and some residents.
Simsbury “Water Wars” is essentially a teenage game of tag.
Simsbury police say students go to extreme measures to tag out classmates using a water gun. It started up again Monday.
Officer Todd Kushman has been a school resource officer in Simsbury for six years.
“It’s not a school sanctioned event. It’s not a police event. It’s the kids themselves carrying on a tradition that we don’t approve of,” he said.
Erin Gallagher remembers participating in Water Wars during her time at Simsbury High School.
“It’s fun to have something going on that’s not necessarily school related, but you’re playing with your compatriots,” she said.
Years after her graduation, police say students continue to put themselves and community members at risk.
Kushman says Tuesday a concerned citizen called police.
“They were basically waiting for somebody else in the game and the terminology they used for the resident caused alarm.”
This just one day into the competition.
“The world’s changed. Terminology has changed. I’m sure when this started the concerns about gun safety and the methods kids were taking were probably more juvenile than they are now,” said the officer.
Simsbury mom Andrea Toscano is all for the fun, as long as students follow the law.
“I think the kids right now are stressed. They have a lot of activities. They’re going off to college. Let them be kids and stop intervening.”
Police say in the past they’ve responded to trespassing and even car crashes because of the competition, so they’re once again stressing safety.
“To them it’s a game, however the parts of the game that they’re ignoring is basically safety and concern that it’s causing the public around us,” Kushman said.
Gallagher, a 2013 Simsbury High School grad, hopes teens enjoy their last few weeks of high school, but she leaves them with this advice:
“I mean I think kids should stop being so stupid about it. Don’t trespass into people’s yards, don’t go into their house.”
As tradition has it, Water Wars usually lasts for some time until there is a winner.