A Barrington High School student has been charged with shooting two fellow classmates, who identify as LGBTQ+, with a pellet gun on the school campus.
The Barrington Police Department said in a statement that they responded around 10:30 a.m. on March 16 to investigate an incident that had taken place earlier that morning at Barrington High School.
Officers learned that a juvenile offender had shot multiple Barrington High School students with what was later identified as a “SplatRBall Water Bead Blaster.”
The offender shot at numerous individuals with the pellet gun on school property.
Three people were struck with the water beads. One of them sustained a minor injury, police said.
Barrington police say the offender was participating in what is known as the “Orbeez Challenge,” which gained its popularity nationwide on TikTok.
A petition was filed with the Lake County Juvenile Court for two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of battery.
Two of the three students who were shot agreed to press charges while the third student declined to press charges, police said.
The Daily Herald reported that Barrington resident Kristin Stedman said her son, Matt Peterson, who is a 17-year-old transgender student, was shot in the incident.
Peterson and his boyfriend were in the school parking lot when the suspect fired the pellets at them.
One of the pellets broke her son’s boyfriend’s skin and left a sizeable welt, the Daily Herald reported.
Barrington 220 School District Superintendent Robert Hunt sent an email to parents about the incident.
“The Orbeez TikTok Challenge is where participants use toy guns to shoot gel beads at each other. Orbeez refers to the brand that manufactures the toy beads,” Hunt said.
“During our investigation, we have learned that some of the students who were the victims of this incident are members of our LGBTQ+ community. Disciplinary consequences will be in place for the students involved, and we have been meeting and supporting the impacted students,” Hunt said.
“Open and honest dialogue with our children is critically important and this incident provides an opportunity to discuss implications of social media and social responsibility. As stated in the message sent out by the high school, hate has no place in Barrington 220 and any incident of bullying or harassment will not be tolerated. It is important that every child has a trusted adult who they can go to when they have concerns or need support,” Hunt said in a follow-up message to parents.