back to article Student expelled for high school Counter-Strike map

A Texas high school that suspended and then expelled a student for creating a map of his school for the PC shooting game Counter-Strike has released new details of the incident. The 17-year-old boy's trouble started when the school received a phone call from a parent, one day after the Virginia Tech murders who complained her …


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  1. Register Reader


    I used to want to make a map of my high school to play Quake DM in. It doesn't mean I actually wanted to kill anyone (though I thought it would be funny to have the teachers as monsters on the map for a single player version..). This is really sad, punishing the guy for something that should be encouraged - making 3D maps/models is a useful skill that he could use/develop to get a decent job.. I can see the mum getting worried though, if he's always sitting by himself in a darkened room shooting people in a virtual high school, with swords on his walls etc.. but :/ still pretty retarded to expel him for this!!

  2. Jamie


    Obviously, this is ridiculous beyond belief. It's a terrible terrible shame that this child's life is being ruined by the ignorance of adults who should know better - and are clearly ashamed to defend their arguments in a public forum.

  3. Chris

    "More stuff"

    "They got more stuff that doesn't look too good," Smelley told the website.

    Doesn't look too good for which side? The seemingly-innocent student, or the overzealous school board? Face it, when people want to create maps for games, they will likely base those maps upon familiar territory, buildings they have been in. It's much easier than creating a large map from only your imagination. And gee, a Chinese person who has an interest in swords? Color me shocked. Unless the police find blood and guts on the swords, they are irrelevant (you know, unless you want to use their existence to spread FUD about someone's innocence).

    I empathize with the student's mother, who had a genuine concern. Like most parents, she is probably not very active in her son's life (and in her defense, her son probably likes it that way). That's just the typical relationship between a parent and a teenager. So I understand her concern (especially in the wake of recent events), and I can understand her reaction. I do, however, find serious fault with the police and the school in their response.

    Modern-day witch hunts may go by different names and methods, and may use modern technology, but the game is always the same. Whether it's long hair, skin color, sexual preference, religion, musical preference, hobbies/interests, etc, it's always the same -- if you don't look, act, and think like us, we don't trust you.

  4. Chris

    Boycotting the meeting

    As for those school board members that decided to boycott the meeting, they should be expelled from the board for failing to do their jobs. You can bet your ass that if it was their child, they would have been there. No one forced them to join the board, they did so voluntarily. So be a man/woman (whichever the case may be) and accept the responsibility that you wanted so badly.

  5. Shea


    I do understand, and even sympathize a little, with the authorities.

    A little. They REALLY don't want to be the next school to hit the news. Bad for the heart, you know.

    But look... if they found five swords, he's a fairly standard 'armory geek'. That means he either has no interest in learning to use them (and thus, they're about as dangerous as a cooking knife... less, since they're probably showy and fairly blunt) or he's an aspiring fencer or SCA person... in which case he's probably not going to go on a school shooting spree.

    Counterstrike maps of the school? Geez... that's hardly the same level as calling in a friggin' BOMB THREAT. And he posted the maps online, so it would appear to be done more for the challenge than for his own private satisfaction.

    Even WITH all those factors, let's say he modded in faces of people he disliked at school and shot them over and over. So? It harms nobody and, if he's got a lot of built-up pressure, it gets released without said news story about some kid who cracked and went after his teachers and fellow students. It's called C-A-T-H-A-R-S-I-S.

    And the boycotting of the meeting? Childish, simply childish.

  6. Martin Huizing

    Bigger problems appear...

    Imagine you are a recluse. A young adult with raging hormones, no friends and no outlet. You feel the world doesn't understand you and hide in your room with two padlocks sitting behind a computer playing shooter games and watching Japanese crime-porn movies.

    Then you read about this kid who got expelled for creating a map and feel scared. They are now out to get you. You don't feel safe and feel you have to protect yourself...

    Imagine now putting more effort into reaching these young people and let them understand that they are not alone. Won't the padlocks come off?

    I think Marylin Manson said it best in Bowling for Columbine.

    Oh and... 60w+ P.A. (public announcement) over E-mail (the newest snail mail) anytime...

    Love and peace to all,


  7. Tim Bates

    How dumb.

    I was making a map of our high school back when I was about that age. Was originally planned as a Halflife deathmatch map, but when we found the max map size too small we decided to start a single player level pack involving a fire in the school. Never got anywhere other than creating a few rough test maps and some plot ideas though.

    On the other hand... A teacher at the same school made a Quake map based on the school library. We even played it at school.

    Quick question.... Did the student in this article play as a terrorist or counter-terrorist? ;-)

  8. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    You think this is a bad sign?

    You think this is a bad sign? I've seen games where there are REAL signs of being indicative of tendancy towards WMDs, genocide, mass killings, etc.

    I mean, only the other day I saw a game that had "accurately" depicted a map of Europe and encouraged you to attack it using a variety of WMDs and subjugate the local populace, dealing with the insurgents (freedom fighters or terrorists, take your pick on the name). Disgusting I tell you. And all this *without* a mod of any form, this kind of offensive content came straight out of the box.

  9. Shaun

    If Only

    If only he'd created a Day Of Defeat Map..................

    Students of the world - Put down your your AWP's and go beat some German's to death with a shovel - it's far more politically correct these days.

  10. Silas Humphreys


    Let's be honest. Stole. They weren't illegal, there was no indication he was going to use them for anything illegal, so there was NO reason to take them away. Is it any wonder the police are commonly disliked when they go around doing stuff like that?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Police & Society

    I dont think its wise to blame the cops, they are just doing their job (responding to concerned citizens).

    I suggest this is possibly the unfortunate inevitable negative outcome of multiculturalism.

  12. Chris Davis


    Great! Shutting the *bedroom* door after the horse has bolted.


  13. Alan White

    Danger! Danger! High Voltage!

    "I dont think its wise to blame the cops, they are just doing their job (responding to concerned citizens).

    I suggest this is possibly the unfortunate inevitable negative outcome of multiculturalism."

    Exactly. The clear result of interracial mixing is the sort of, um, terrorististic terrorism of terrifying terror that results in, er, the modding of western games-from-mods into terrifying theatres of death depicting battles between fully grown adults which is of course completely against everything perpetuated by both the media and foreign policy of these, ummmm, wholly peaceful and not atall give-us-oil-or-we'll-beat-you-up-attituded countries. Why, you'd never see a western country declare war on another or even use swords - the notion of a good old caucasian having a sword, gun, or engaging in fisticuffs was unheard of before, er, Bruce Lee introduced the ICBM to the new world.

    (c) The Daily Mail

  14. Dale Richards

    My University

    At the university at which I study, one of the more popular courses is Computer Games Design, and for the first year one of the assignments is to create a Counter-Strike map based on the university campus.

    As Chris said, when you're setting out to create maps (and especially if you're a little inexperienced) it's far easier to base them on locations with which you are familiar, and for students the most likely candidate by far is your school/college/uni.

    This story is outrageous and I really hope it doesn't traumatise the boy too much.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't read my dreams!

    It's just as well they couldn't read my dreams when I was at school, cos I had a tendency to fight invading aliens with balls of rolled up paper. Sometimes I donned a dinner suit and uncovered foreign powers plotting to use the school as a base to take over the UK after brainwashing the pupils. Once I was even part of a new generation of superpowered beings and me and my classmates stood up against scientists who drove black sedans and wore black suits and sunglasses and wanted to abduct us for scientific experimentation.

    If they'd known that, I would have been expelled for sure.

    Anonymous writes:

    "I suggest this is possibly the unfortunate inevitable negative outcome of multiculturalism."

    On the contrary, I would argue that mindless bigotted racism is entirely "evitable" and that multiculturalism is the cure, not the disease.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for another Grand Theft Auto suit?

    I mean, you know the original game used a map of Dundee in Scotland, right?

  17. Russell Sakne

    Blaming the cops

    The police's job is not "responding to concerned citizens". It's to make sure the law is enforced. "Responding to concerned citizens" is one of the elements of doing that job, but "allaying their fears and making sane judgements about what to do about those concerns" is another. One which they patently failed to do by, as Silas says, stealing his decor.

    You wave your biases, Mr Anonymous, by blaming multiculturalism.

  18. Andy Crofts

    Fun place they sent him...

  19. Konstantinos

    Simply LoL

    "Sword ownership rights have been under heavy fire since they were determined to be the leading cause of death during the Siege of Acre in the third crusade."

    I really have to state : ROFLMFAO

    there are far worst things than a boy's CS map out there.

    Just open the television and you may encounter just a few

  20. daniel

    Sue the school!

    How long until the parents find a lawyer and sue the school for mental anguish, unfair dismissal, racial prejudice and anything else they cand dig up for megabucks...

    Reminds me of a political rally in France with Charles de Gaulle: When asked about what policies his government should implement, a heckler shouted "eliminate the idots" - To which CdG responded "a vast program..."

    In anycase, maybe the GWoT should be called GWoF (for Freedom?)



  21. Mr D

    Over-reacton, the only reaction!

    Some kid made a map of his school for a game... big deal...

    I keep a postmans uniform and bag in my armoury and sit there polishing my machine gun in my boxers and a pair of army boots waiting for the day the boss goes to far ...

    It would be more disturbing if he was making maps of someone elses school....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Building such a CS map probably wasn't the smartest thing to do in this day and age. He shouldn't have been expelled tho.

    Take the owners of this site.; In the late 90's they banded together to build a CS map of their school, with the blessings of their computer club teachers.

    They expanded on the experience and now they run their own EA-recognized gaming services firm. Incidentally the maps they built can be downloaded from the downloads section.

  23. David S


    Shame to see a young man's creative expression being misinterpreted in this fashion. And, in this context, I do mean "shame" in its truest sense.

    Land of the free? Pfft.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pictures of the map he made

  25. Greg


    So to prevent this dude turning into a "terrorist", they stopped him playing a game in which the whole objective is to lay some whoopass on a bunch of terrorists, and instead expelled him and stole some of his stuff, to make sure he had the required level of bitterness to hate his mother and teachers?

    Nice going, guys. It's stuff like this that makes me scared of an American-designed future.

  26. Peter Fielden-Weston

    Where are all the land sharks?

    While I read this I was waiting for the punchline.

    I followed the link to the local papers and read their reports and comments, still looking for the punchline.

    I cannot understand why the local landsharks aren't offering the sue the sh*t out of the school board for his treatment over something that was of peripheral (and dubious) concern to the school anyway, and the police for 'confiscating' decorative swords. Why?

    As for the comments by Mr Smelley ("They got more stuff that doesn't look too good,"), well due process as you Amuricuns say. If anyone has an allegation against the boy the they should go through the proper chanels and 'due process'.

    I don't think that this lad has to worry about graduating or college etc. The money he should make out of this should set him up for life.

    Amurica - Land of the free

    (provided that you're not Asian; Iranian, Iraqi, Black, Catholic, Computer game player, etc etc etc)

  27. Ishkandar

    How fascinating !!

    "Sword ownership rights have been under heavy fire since they were determined to be the leading cause of death during the Siege of Acre in the third crusade.

    School officials determined, due to the violent nature of the video game, the iron-age WMD (weapon of mass decapitation) and other undisclosed information, the matter should be classified as a "Level 3" situation."

    And all that happened at a period in history when all good Americans were bashing each other on the head with stone axes !! Perhaps the police should arrest everyone in possession of a lump of WMD (Weapon of Mass Disablement) stone !!

  28. Will

    RE: Chris

    "And gee, a Chinese person who has an interest in swords? Color me shocked."

    Um, blatant stereotyping much? Maybe if you had said "anyone with an interest in history, history of warfare, other cultures or martial arts could have those swords" you wouldn't come across as stereotyping.

  29. A J Stiles

    No worse than me

    Does anyone remember Skool Daze on the (recently turned 25, belated Happy Birthday wishes!) ZX Spectrum? You could change the names of the characters. I defy anyone who has played that game to tell me they never used names taken from their own school for the characters. OK, the strongest weapon was a catapult, but it was still refreshingly naughty to knock down the headmaster from behind and have him give some other hapless kid lines.

    I once created a text adventure game for the BBC Model B, set in my old school; the twist was that I had turned it into a special school for sexual perverts. It included such nonsense as eating curry in order to burn a hole in a wooden panel with your fiery breath (must've been where they got the idea for Dhalsim in Street Fighter), an "emergency reset button" in one of the classrooms (pressing it restarted the game from scratch) and a drinks machine (don't select the white or black coffee); not to mention a series of clues to a password which had to be entered in the correct location and a running gag involving some AA batteries and a faulty recharger.

    Some people just take themselves far too seriously. IT'S A GAME, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

  30. Michael Corkery

    It has nothing to do with multiculturalism

    ...unless you're implying a racist element to the boy's treatment?

    It's ignorance, plain and simple. Anyonw who plays FPshooters thinks how cool it would be to map a real world environment that they and other players know. To assume that leads to murderous thoughts is like assuming that someone who eats a doughnut wants to eat all the sugar in the world.


    all the sugar in the world

  31. Robin Baxter

    Oh Dear

    Creating a map of a location you visit or use regularly is fun seeing a place you know well in a film or in a computer game is weird and fun. You can let your mind run free and enjoy it. I love watching the Americans napalm Canary wharf and London in the film “28 weeks later” this doesn’t mean I have any plans to do the same.

    As mentioned above there are university courses where this is a requirement. The best map I ever played in a game base on a real world location was for Doom and it was Cambridge University. It was epic in scale and design turning a real world environment into a 3d representation in a game is no small task and the student should have been commended for his talent and creativity.

    I have and did attempt to make a map of my secondary school as I thought it would be interesting and challenging but I eventually gave up due to lack of artistic talent.

    Sadly this was a knee jerk reaction to the tragic events in at Vtech.

  32. regadpellagru


    Baffling to see part of the US, even Texas, go straight towards the fanatic mode, in such a unified move. Being tasteless may apparently cause you to be locked-up, in this other planet ...

    Is a matter of time before they burn books, crucify the

    heretics again, and generally go into crusade against


    ""They got more stuff that doesn't look too good," Smelley told the website."

    Oh, dear, you mean, .... naked women ????? Geez, death is

    too darn good for him !

    Hey, Smelley, I take it you believe those heretics have fluorified water, in order to poison your bodily fluids *.

    * from "doctor strangelove" by Stanley Kubrick

  33. Jonathan Patterson

    What idiots

    I mean, really.

    On their website (link below), next to their "mission statement", they have a picture of 4 people, at least two of which are carrying rifles over their shoulders.

    I think they should have expelled these people, who were walking around their REAL campus with REAL guns.

  34. Dan

    Sword ownership

    I just checked the Texas state law, which says its illegal to give, sell, or offer a sword to someone under 18, except with WRITTEN parental consent... so technically at least in this case the swords were evidence of a violation of law that may have taken place. Even though it defies common sense its still within the technical power and responsibility of the law.

    Such a stupid incident... its not paranoia, just political correctness gone berserk. I'm sure no one in authority is literally scared by this kid, just worried that someone else (parent, teacher, other kid) might be *gasp* OFFENDED by his actions and threaten their job security. The first comment I invariably get from "non-sword" people who see my sword collection (of functional, historical reproductions) is something along the lines of "I can't believe you can have that stuff! You could scare people". The next thing I almost always hear though is "Can I hold one" : )

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me Too!

    You can add me to the list of people who tried to make a map of their school. In my case I used the doom2 engine but gave up when I found the view distance wasn't long enough.

    Like peple have said - it's easier and more interesting to use a location you're familiar with. I had plans to have secret passages that where true to life too. The school had several areas that few people knew about: the basement, behind the stage of the theatre, the old bomb shelters. It would have been great fun to play on.

    Did I subsequently terrorise the school? Well 8 years since I left it's still doing fine.

    I also own a decorative sword. It'd be completely ineffecitve as a weapon though. It's relatively blunt and would snap if you swung it violently. The knife I use in the kitchen however...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So out of context

    My god people get a grip. I swear, it does not matter if something has anything to do with race, people want to turn it into something racial.

    I was reading this article and didn't read till halfway down that the kid was chinese. Hell, the kid sounded pretty much like me when I was a kid, and I'm a standard white american.

    Facination with swords is not really something limitted to the chinese. Hell, I had decorative swords then and still do. And don't tell me that as a kid you didn't sword fight, no matter what race you were.

    All this is really is about a school system flipping out because of a recent tragedy. They went to far, but if you read anything with video game news, you'd know that this has been a pretty common occurance since Doom.

    Really, this wouldn't matter what race the kid is, people just want an excuse to flip out.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 minutes turns these up

    The fact is that when children start to make computer game maps they begin with maps of buildings they know well to get to grips with using the design tools. Expelling them for doing so just serves to broaden the them-and-us divide.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shades of Doom

    When I'm bored, I like to browse through old user-made levels for Doom, which are archived at There's an entire directory devoted to "university / school" levels, designed back in 1994/5, which are usually dull tosh. Most of them predate even Columbine, and so they have a spooky feeling. They are relics from a bygone age. The textfiles that accompany them are usually more entertaining, in a nostalgic way, than the maps. Some of the them are architectural exercises that attempt to circumvent Doom's single-story 3D engine, but there are several slaughter-style maps where you have to kill students, teachers etc. I only point this out as an example of how the times have changed; back in 1994/95 this kind of thing was funny in a sick way, and now it has a horrible grown-up serious air, the fun has been sucked out of it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am so making a map of my school...

    Definitely. I am going to make a map of my school.

    And charge around with a machine gun, or RPG.

    Or a tank...

    Of course, this doesn't mean I'm actually going to go postal on my school. Although... NO!!!

    Heh heh heh...

  40. Michael

    On the other hand...

    Let's be fair:

    If the school and town knew about this kid and his counter-strike map, did nothing, and then the kid did in fact go on a rampage, killing a bunch of people, there would be outrage from the American public that such "obvious signs" were overlooked or ignored.

    They really can't win in this situation. Expelling the kid? Too far -- but in all fairness, they couldn't just ignore it either.

  41. Marvin the Martian

    Specialists say: 40% of school murderers wrote/talked beforehand

    Really, Time (and others) wrote just that after the VTech massacre, that "telling signs" are: writing about it in essays or plays or talking to classmates about it, because it has been documented for 40% of the perpetrators.

    Right, and some 95% of perpetrators have been documented as male (exception: the girl from the "I hate mondays" song). Soo... ban all males from school --- it's an even better indicator!

    Obviously what you need is the opposite information, *given* that someone talks/writes about it, what is the chance that he does commit such an atrocity? Its obvious that most people will not be able to put their finger on the problem/difference, but if a reporter cannot/doesn't want to point this out this is tragic.

    So if the chance of pandemonium is significantly higher *given* that he has made a map, fine, they need to take steps. If not, shut up. There's hundreds of these maps made up to now, none are known to be from murderers (AFAIK), so definitely not enough ground to take steps. That the police has helped with stealing his stuff --- well, given that sheriffs are elected in american towns, this kind of macho bullying is what the population votes for.

  42. dvint1

    Bloody America

    I know it is in their rights to 'bear arms', but my god, if only they had better firearms control people wouldn't need to get paranoid about some kids map for CS.

    In the wake of the latest murders I am surprised not to see on the news an outcry from middle amercia asking for handguns to be banned.

    I live in a country where it is illegal to own a handgun or automatic weapons, and all we get in our schools are kids punching other kids. (

    Alot easier to take someone down when they dont have a 9mm in their hand...

  43. ak

    Who Cares...

    This news will blow over and be forgotten about by the rest of us, but this child has probably had their life destroyed.. it's great that humans are so apathetic and fall in to line so easily :)

    P.S. I totally disagree with the political correctness gone mad, I just dont think anyone will do anything about it. The parents should be slapped for not knowing their own child as well... In fact the child is the only person I think hasn't done anything wrong...

  44. Isaac

    What a fantastic idea

    I agree completely with pretty much everyone else. Familiar ground is much easier to draw out than making something up out of the blue. Besides, think about your school that you go to...Ours had a huge courtyard with concrete planters, 4 or 5 buildings around the courtyard, with balconies overlooking it, and 2 staircases to come up. What about that WOULDN'T make a good CS map or whatever you play. Everyone's just being so paranoid that they're resorting to harassment just to make sure. If this kid didn't want to shoot up some school board members before this, I'm sure he does now.

  45. r6uy

    The world is going mad!

    how can they be allowed to get away with things like this? how long is it before people are locked up in jail for being different, like long hair on boys, or listening to 'bad music.' i think the world has gone too far from being "p.c" as they call it, now we are being racismist, as in , arresting anyone who seems to be slightly odd, or different in any way. i think this student could have been fine if the police and the mother would actually listen to the kid and not assume things about counterstrike or the people who play it. like me, i certainly hate a few people, but i always considerd it better to imagine im kiling them rather then going out with a knife and killing them. i make maps all the time and im planning on making an rpg on warcraft of my surrounding area, mayb the locals will find this horrifying and lock me up, who knows. And about the sword, has anyone been to disney land? the place for tiny kids? well i have, and i remember a giant decorative sword for sale there for 150 euros. i wanted to get it but my mum didnt think we could get it back to britain, ah well, probably saved me some trouble with being p.c or whatever. remember everyone, mind mapping, not brain storming. apparently brain storming is insulting to mentally challenged people(mayb calling them thats not pc either) i dont see the difference between the two ways of saying it.

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