To many younger students, high school is often depicted as an upperclassmen-ruled environment. They dream of becoming a senior and one day “ruling” the school. Although this notion tends to be exaggerated, some aspects of being a senior live up to anticipation. Senior activities are a huge part of having an enjoyable final year of high school.
One of the most controversial of these traditions is senior tag, a game that many seniors look forward to all year long. In order to get somebody out in this game, a player must be in their undergarments and spray their fully-clothed opponent with a water gun. These rules make many perceive senior tag as an indecent, inappropriate game. However, one of the best things about senior tag is that it is a completely voluntary game. No group of students is going to force anyone to participate in a competition that involves being half naked. Many argue that it is crude for schools to allow young students wearing such little clothing to run around town. However, because the rules say that students must change back into clothes before returning to school property, players aren’t violating any school rules. In fact, senior tag can promote positive body image. Being constantly exposed can help develop a sense of security within one’s body and potentially boost confidence. Young pedestrians seeing their older neighbors embracing their bodies might be encouraged to be more confident in themselves and look forward to senior tag in the future.
Additionally, because senior tag occurs in the last quarter of high school, it can allow students to bond with their classmates and create new memories before heading off to their next chapter in life. High school is an important and memorable time in life, and finishing it with a fun competition between classmates can be the perfect way to end on a high note
Once late April rolls around, no seniors are safe: it’s senior tag season. While senior tag may be a long-lasting tradition, it should not be played, as it has a reputation for causing disturbances, promoting a negative body image and being inappropriate for younger children to see. The “kills” made during senior tag frequently take place at night, when most people are taking time for themselves after a long day of work, thus disrupting residential life.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, seniors are often warned by residents that their property is not an appropriate place to be playing the game. Despite this, seniors continue to disrespect these boundaries. One of the first rules stated on the Bexley senior tag website says that to participate in this game, one must play only in their underwear. Not being able to wear clothes in public can contribute to issues such as body dysmorphia. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, some of the biggest signs of an eating disorder are purposely skipping meals and taking a long time to get dressed because those struggling with eating disorders feel as though they never look good enough.
Senior tag can perpetuate the fear of being body shamed, potentially contributing to a person’s disordered eating habits. Particularly in men, NEDA reports, eating disorders manifest in excessive exercise to gain muscle and burn body fat. This can cause players, especially male, to obsessively focus on their body image because they are participating in a game that puts their bodies on display.
Additionally, according to 10TV, the game tends to cause parental concern about their young children seeing undressed seniors. It’s inappropriate for children in the community to be forced to watch this indecency. Senior tag faces backlash from parents, teachers and even other students around the school. With players disrespecting residents, body image potentially being damaged and an indecent image being displayed for the town’s youth, the game can quickly turn from fun to harmful.