Mason schools warn against new social media challenge, says students will face consequences

Mason schools warn against new social media challenge, says students will face consequences
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 11:28 AM EDT
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MASON, Ohio (WXIX) - Mason school officials are warning families in the community against students participating in a new trend that is potentially dangerous.

The Warren County school sent a statement to families Thursday warning against the ‘Orbeez Challenge,’ a social media trend making its way through the country.

Police departments in both Florida and Georgia have cited similar incidents and have even made charges against suspects.

The challenge appears to encourage teens to conduct “drive-by shootings” with toy guns that use Orbeez-style pellets, the statement reads.

A bus carrying around 10 to 12 Mason Middle School students was shot at Monday with a similar water pellet gun.

It may have been done as part of the social media trend, says Public Information Officer Tracy Carson.

Carson adds, “This trend also has the potential to cause fear or panic in that some of these gel blaster guns are similar in design to the popular airsoft guns, with some models (like the one used in the incident with our school bus) very closely resembling an actual firearm.”

Even though the suspects in the bus incident weren’t Mason students, Carson says that the toy guns are popular among the community and advises that students who bring water pellet guns to school “will face school consequences, may face legal consequences.’

The two suspects, a 16-year-old and 17-year-old, were arrested and charged with inducing panic, according to Mason police.

Families are encouraged to talk to their students about the safety concerns and the panic that the toy guns could cause.

“It is our expectation that students do not have a gel blaster on any Mason City Schools property or Mason City Schools event at any time,” wrote Carson. “Failure to meet this expectation may result in suspension with recommendation for expulsion, and could also include legal consequences. Please talk with your child about this expectation.”

The Village of Lockland police department also shared a post on Facebook on Wednesday, banning the use of water pellet guns.

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