SOLON, Ohio (WJW) — On the last day of classes, the Solon City Schools are marking the start of Summer vacation with a warning to students and parents about the potential dangers of so-called splat guns or gel blasters, that shoot water-filled BBs or pellets.

Jay Bender, who is the district’s security director, told Fox 8, “They can travel up about 200 feet per second, they are powerful enough to leave bruises and welts and of course, there’s a huge danger to the eyes and face.”

The district is reminding families that gel blasters are not allowed on school grounds, in Solon Community Park or at any other public property in the city.

“There has become a trend of kids meeting up after school and having battles with these guns. We’ve also had a few reports of people who are not participating in these battles, getting shot by these guns,” Bender said.

In one case, a 10-year-old Solon boy was hit with a gel BB, fired from a carload of teenagers as he was riding his bike in Community Park.

The school district is now urging parents to have a conversation with their children about the splat guns.

“I would tell my kids, keep them in the backyard. Don’t shoot them at each other, and regardless of what you’re shooting them at, use eye protection,” Bender said.

A local expert on safety and security said the fact that some of the so-called toys look like real guns and can be viewed by others as posing a real threat, can have tragic consequences.

Dr. Ken Trump told Fox 8, “They’re pulling out a gun in a TikTok challenge in a playful mode, in some type of game that ends up in injury or even death.”

The June 2022, the death of 17-year-old Ethan Liming in Akron illustrates how the perceived threat posed by a splat gun can lead to violence.

Akron Police said Ethan was with a group of friends who fired rounds from a gel blaster at young men playing basketball at the I Promise School.

Investigators said the men initially thought it was gunfire and retreated, but then decided to chase the teens. Ethan Liming was killed as a result of the violent confrontation that followed.

Attorneys for the three men who were later arrested in connection with Ethan Liming’s death have argued that it was self-defense, in response to the perceived threat from the firing of the gel blaster.