Elmbrook schools, Brookfield police warn against 'Junior/Senior wars' and 'paranoia' games

April 8, 2014

The Elmbrook School District and the Brookfield Police Department are warning teenagers not to participate in delinquent activities called Junior/Senior "Wars" and "Paranoia," reminding participants that those "games" can result in criminal charges.

Parents of high school juniors and seniors received letters from the district and the police department last month, informing them of risks associated with the teenage activities.

"Wars" between high school juniors and seniors have occurred in recent years in which students from one class will throw eggs and toilet paper at homes of students in the other class, said Brookfield Chief of Police Daniel Tushaus in his letter to parents.

"These late-night or early morning activities have resulted in the past in police calls by concerned neighbors, missed school and struggles to stay awake in class," the district's letter stated. "In addition to risky behavior sometimes associated with the activity, (e.g. property damage, trespassing, alcohol use), we are equally concerned with the negative impact on the school culture and the ability to meet our core teaching and learning expectations."

Running concurrently with the Junior/Senior Wars is another disruptive game called, "Paranoia." Teams of students are armed with Nerf guns (loaded with foam darts) and are pitted against each other to "kill" or "assassinate" opposing team members.

"Paranoia" has led to players entering homes uninvited and hiding on private property. Under the rules of the game, players are only immune if in school, at work or a school-sponsored activity, or "completely naked," according to Tushaus' letter.

Police reminded parents that, under state law, 17-year-olds can be arrested and prosecuted as adults. Parents who are found guilty of helping their children with these activities may also face charges as parties to a crime.

Students found to be involved with the activities will also face consequences from the school district, including — but not limited to — loss of participation in a co-curricular activity and inability to receive letters of recommendation from school staff.

"We at Elmbrook focus on student safety as well as respectable behavior in the community," said Chris Thompson, the district's chief information officer. "Students are at risk of both when they participate in these activities."

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