Lawsuit: Parents Suing School for Not Protecting Students From “Nerf Wars”

The parents of two high school students who were killed in a 2015 car crash are suing their local school district for allegedly failing to protect their children from a popular game that they’re calling a known danger: “Nerf wars.” The Lakeville, Minnesota teens who died in the incident are Jacob Flynn and John Price. 

The parents of two Minnesota students who were killed in a 2015 car crash are suing their local school district for allegedly failing to protect their children from what’s being called a “known danger.” That danger is the game of “Nerf wars.”

The victims were Jacob Flynn, 17 and John Price, 18. The two Lakeville South High School students were thrown from a pick-up truck that was involved in a single-vehicle accident on December 4, 2015. According to law enforcement officials, the teens were embroiled in a game of Nerf wars at the time. Another passenger and the driver both survived the crash.

Nerf wars is a game played by kids of all ages; sometimes their parents, too. It’s particularly popular among high school students. The rules vary, but generally the game involves shooting at each other with a foam-firing toy weapon, like a Nerf fun. The intent of the game is to hit your opponent. Some variations keep score of points and even include a cash prize for the player with the highest points. It’s not a game meant to be played while driving.

Nerf Wars


Why the Lawsuit?

Greg Walsh, the lawyer representing both families, has stated that the issue is that the students were not protected from the danger of Nerf wars. The lawsuit is filed against Independent School District 194.

“They knew that kids were getting hurt. They knew this was escalating,” Walsh was quoted as saying, “They had an opportunity to protect the kids from a known danger and they failed.”

The lawsuit also stated, “It was commonplace that students would be chased throughout the…parking lot, running in and out of cars as students were leaving for the day.”

According to the lawsuit, the school was well aware of the dangers of the game because teachers, the school district, and other school officials were following the @SouthsideNerf and @NorthNerf, twitter accounts.

The lawsuit also points to a warning e-mail that was sent to school administrators by the activities director, Neil Strader, two months before Flynn and Price were killed. In the e-mail, it gave an example of how serious Nerf wars could get: “A boy [was] punched Wednesday during Nerf War and a police report [was] made.”

According to Walsh, there have been lawsuits in the past that have occurred off campus resulting in schools being liable for having been aware of a known danger to students.

The Argument Against the Lawsuit

According to Dakota County Attorney, James Backstrom, the students participated in the game willingly, without the school’s support.

Backstrom added, “These types of games, which can involve aggressive behaviors among youth, have no place in our schools and communities and should end.”

The Independent School District also made a statement, which went as follows:

“We continue to grieve for the loss of Jacob Flynn and John Price. However, the auto accident that claimed Jacob and John was in no way connected to a sanctioned or supported school activity, in fact the single car accident was over two miles away from the school after school was over for the week. Therefore there is no liability or fault on behalf of Lakeville Schools.”

At the time of the deadly accident, no charges were laid against the school district.