Fortnite

Kentucky high schools ban "violent" Fortnite from varsity esports events

by Dustin Steiner

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Kentucky high schools have banned Fortnite from officially sanctioned varsity competitions, claiming the Battle Royale game and other shooters like it are "too violent."

Despite Fortnite's depictions of fantasy violence being far removed from reality, it seems that Epic's game has once again been deemed too much for young minds to handle by someone who doesn't quite understand it.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has banned the game from all varsity competitions for being "too violent," despite it being one of the most popular games in the 12-to-25-year-old age bracket.

“There is no place for shooter games in our schools,” comissioner Julian Tackett said in an email obtained by Kentucky.com. "We did not know about the addition and are strongly against it."

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While Fortnite is not as wildly popular as it once was, it's by no means slouching, often fighting for the top slot on Twitch and other streaming platforms.

This is in addition to its presence as one of the top esports titles in the world, which PlayVS has offered to high school students around the country as an inter-mural competition.

PlayVS
PlayVS offers inter-mural esports to thousands of high schools around the United States.

“I want to personally assure you that we, along with the NFHS Network are proactively taking steps to have this decision reversed,” Tackett said in the email. “There is no place for shooter games in our schools. This announcement was particularly troubling in that it came on the anniversary of one of Kentucky’s darkest days, the Marshall County incident.”

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Kentucky, like many states in the United States, has seen tragedy related to gun violence. The Marshall County incident in question saw two students killed and several injured in the 2018 shooting.

He continued to say that any Kentucky school that was part of the Athletic Association was barred from playing in any official capacity, be it through their partner PlayVS, or any other organization.

High school coaches seem to be okay with the ban, as the same article quoted Damian Layman of Boyle County High School's esports team.

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“When you start getting into the shooter-style games, I believe there’s a line,” said Laymon. “At the high school level do you want to be a part of that?”

Epic Games

The organization voted to require the written approval of principals, superintendents, and parents before students are even allowed to play League of Legends, Riot's MOBA mega-hit. While LoL does have many depictions of violence, its mechanics are not defined as a shooter, and thus seem to have at least escaped an outright ban.

PlayVS has yet to comment on the ban.