SPHS Bans Spoon Assassins Game

The popular game, where players try to eliminate each other if they're found not to be in possession of a spoon, is a form of gambling, and therefore not allowed at South Pasadena High School, officials said.

South Pasadena High School administrators have stuck a fork in Spoon Assassins. 

A game popular on both college and high school campuses around the country, Spoon Assassins drew more than 200 SPHS students' participation in the latest round of play, according to the school's online newspaper, Tiger Online. The players all kicked in varying amounts of money to receive a spoon with the name of their “target,” the article explained. If their “assassin” caught them without a spoon in their hand, students could be tagged out, or "killed.'' The last student standing would win prize money collected from entry fees.

The problem is, that's gambling, according to the high school's Feb. 19 daily bulletin

"To all students-- No more Spoon Assassins. It is a form of gambling and underage gambling is illegal. All spoons will be collected by teachers,''  the Tiger Dispatch stated. 

Another issue, as pointed out in the Tiger Online article by Social Studies teacher Annalee Pearson, is the germ factor.

“Personally, I just think the spoons become hygienically disgusting,'' Pearson was quoted as saying. 

Assistant Principal for Student Services Terrance Dunn also told Tiger Online that the game is disruptive. Students have interrupted class to try to tag out their target, the article states. 

Wikipedia defines the popular game as one in which "players try to eliminate each other from the game using mock weapons in an effort to become the last surviving player.'' And since an elimination attempt could occur at any time, "successful players are obliged to develop a healthy degree of watchful paranoia,'' the definition reads.

To read the Tiger Online story about banning Spoon Assassins click here. To read the Tiger story that outlines the game's objectives, click here.


Patch Asks: Have you heard about this game? Do you know anyone who was playing it? 

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Emmanuel February 26, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I agree with everyone here!! Come-on, gambling really!!? I grew up in the inner city where kids were shooting craps in the back or other forms of real gambling and you didn't hear the school ban dice from board games!!! Schools have got to stop acting like weenies! Moreover, I think it taught students healthy competition and a drive to win! Something that is really lacking in this generation sometimes. Our teenage daughter doesn't play any sports and this was the first time we saw her so intent on winning at something! Get a grip SPHS and focus your attention on something worthwhile, not a harmless game.
Suzie Strong February 27, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I'm totally with you all as well! The kids are being creative and having fun and it's not hurting anyone or anything. I fail to see how this constitutes as gambling. And yes, SPHS, get a little perspective: just outside of South Pas, there are much, much worse things that kids are doing to each other.
Carly February 28, 2013 at 06:55 AM
As a member of the game, I find it entirely harmless. Things could go a lot worse on campus, and this measly little game keeps things fun around here. If it was SUCH a big problem in the first place, maybe our administration should have done something about it when we first started the game. For all you concerned and uptight parents, I'm sure your child is having fun with this game, so why are you taking an enjoyable moment in their high school years away? I was a part of it last year, still in it this year, and will always remember this game in the future.
Donna Evans February 28, 2013 at 08:01 AM
How long were kids playing it, Carly? I'd love to get a bunch more students' perspectives in this thread, if you'd be so kind to Facebook or Tweet the link to this story out to your peeps :-) Appreciate everyone's voice, but having more students chime in would be groovy.
Kevin Daley February 28, 2013 at 07:14 PM
As I understand it, the way Spoon Assassin is structured it is NOT gambling but rather a contest or competition as defined by California law. See Business and Professions Code sections 17539-17539.3, 17539.35. If the administration wanted to ban disruptive behavior that is fine but simply banning the game seems silly. The kids will just change the game to something else, like Ruler, or Notebook or Pencil Assassin, using more easily concealed "weapons". They aren't stupid. The concern with hygiene was ridiculous. The kids aren't using the spoons to eat with. Even if the spoons were more germ covered than other parts of the kids' bodies, clothes and accessories, how would touching someone with the spoon (usually on the body) transmit those germs? It's not like you stick your spoon in the other player's mouth.


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