In a move New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott called "a mistake," students from the Bronx High School of Visual Arts took a field trip to play shooting games at a simulated-combat venue, NBC New York reports. He said the school later apologized.
NBC New York said it found the teacher-led group on a recent Tuesday afternoon during school hours at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, Queens. According to the network, the kids were there to play iCombat, in which players wear authentic-looking SWAT gear and shoot each other with assault weapon replicas that emit a laser to score kills. As the video above notes, combatants navigate the kind of life-like setting used by operatives in military and police exercises.
On its website, Extreme Indoor Sports touts iCombat as "like Call of Duty and Battlefield for but for real!" The aforementioned are popular video games marked by ultra-violence.
Sensitivities are running high as the nation wrestles with what to do about gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings -- and the notion of students playing shooting games on school time raised the eyebrow of at least one group.
Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, told the Huffington Post, "It sounds like someone had a serious lapse in judgment." "I'm just curious why in the world kids would be doing that on school time."
Everitt added he wanted to be cautious in his response because of the limited information available but conceded that the outing sounded "weird."
HuffPost left messages with the school principal and parent coordinator on Friday but did not immediately hear back. New York City schools were open Friday despite the coming snowstorm.
One nation took a firm stance against games like iCombat in the wake of a mass shooting. After a German teenager shot and killed 16 in 2009, Germany moved to ban laser tag and paintball because "they trivialize and encourage violence," the BBC wrote.
For more on why parents, child psychologists and officials are disturbed by the Bronx school's outing, check out NBC New York.