By Gene Park
Fortnite has been banned from varsity esports programs in Kentucky by the state’s high school athletic association because of concerns about how it portrays gun violence. However, there is some confusion between the involved parties as to whether such a ban is applicable and whether it can be applied at all, given the details of the game’s implementation as an esport at the high school level.
The third-person shooter by Epic Games — which features no gore and has a cartoon aesthetic — was introduced last week as an esport at the high school and college levels via a partnership between Epic and PlayVS, an organization that offers esports programs in U.S. schools. PlayVS creates competitions by partnering with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), including the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA).
The recent announcement by PlayVS alarmed KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, who sent an email to Kentucky school officials stating that “there is no place for shooter games in our schools,” reported the Lexington Herald-Leader. Tackett also cited the 2018 shooting at Marshall High School that killed two people and wounded a dozen others.