Video game parody in parents’ cross hairs

By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent
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There’s a new version of the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” video game in which players “shot” Rocklin students on the school campus instead of soldiers. The Rocklin High edition was made by students as a project for a media arts class. In the parody, however, no replicas of guns, bombs, or knives were used nor were any people hurt. “I see both sides of this,” said Rocklin High parent, Laurie Pugh, who discussed the issue with her three teenage sons. “Being sensitive to issues like this and realizing others may be hypersensitive to this is something we all need to keep in mind.” Parents and adults dislike the video because it reminds them of the Columbine massacre of April 20, 1999. Pugh believes that the students innocently overlooked the sensitivity of the issue and encourages alternative endeavors for cultivating creativity. Rocklin High students who saw the seven-minute video say the video was not intended to be offensive, but rather, a project of innovation. The video was posted on YouTube. “Honestly, the video was all in good fun. I can’t see how parents can allow their children to play the violent games it’s modeled after, yet have a problem with the video,” said Rocklin junior Holly Petersen, who is friends with the teens who created the video. Some wonder if the video would have received equal attention had it been a recreation of something such as The Battle of Gettysburg. Principal Mike Garrison said he wasn’t made aware of the project until last Thursday night and deems the entire experience as an “educational moment” that highlights the importance of sensitivity of such issues. The video was sent to the Rocklin Unified School District trustees who concluded that the video was not an appropriate choice to accomplish the educational objectives of the project. “This will be a teachable moment for the class in balancing expression and appropriateness in the learning environment,” said Superintendent Kevin Brown, who said he wants students to be independent, creative, and self-directed, working in the making of quality work.