WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A dangerous trend, called the Orbeez challenge, is circulating on social media. Police and school districts are now sending out a warning to parents.
These trends are unfortunately not unusual—but as we’ve reported in the past they can have serious consequences. And this latest challenge is no different.
The trend is putting a new spin on the game ‘assassin’ that’s been played among high school seniors for years.
The Orbeez Challenge has gone viral on TikTok. Orbeez are super-absorbent polymers that expand when submerged in water.
Young people are firing Orbeez balls from gel guns, similar to how Nerf and paintball guns are used. The TikTok trend is encouraging people to fire Orbeez balls at random people and vehicles.
West Harford Public Schools sent a letter home to parents on Thursday, stating that the district received numerous reports from police and neighboring communities about kids participating in the challenge.
A statement in the letter reads as follows:
“West Hartford Public Schools and the West Hartford Police Department cannot overstate the dangers involved when individuals decide to participate in these behaviors.”
The school outlined the challenge and reminded parents these items do not belong on school grounds. Police say those involved in participating in the game could face criminal charges.
“This is not a problem that is contained to any one town, that’s a concern, and we want our students to be safe and be responsible, and be thoughtful about what they’re doing… People can get really distracted, in the cars and they can crash and have serious injuries,” said Paul Vicnus, superintendent of West Hartford Public Schools.
And another concern, the superintendent says at night time police may have a difficult time recognizing someone driving by shooting out a window at night with a toy gun.
“These toy guns and air soft guns they look amazingly similar to real firearms and that just places the students into an unsafe position,” Vicnus said.
School officials will be reinforcing that message to students in the coming days and weeks.
The above video is from an earlier newscast at 5 a.m. on April 28.