Middle School Officer Pepper Sprays Students for Not Clearing Hallways

school hallwayI bet you thought you'd heard the last of pepper spray for a while, right? After all these months, surely some other noxious substance must have replaced pepper spray as Public Enemy #1. Right?!

Nope. Not really. At least not in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where several middle school students ended up hospitalized after a "school resource officer" used pepper spray to clear a crowded hallway.

(Sound of palm smacking forehead.)

Student Faith Forney gave the following account:

"Not knowing he was going to spray it, I walked straight into it. Everybody started hollering and we had people just gagging and throwing up and everything and I'm like what's going on?"

What's going on? An incredibly stupid abuse of authority, that's what's going on.


If my kids went to that school, I'd want the pepper spraying school resource officer fired, immediately. (His future at the school will be decided next week, apparently.)

But something still bothers me about how this incident is being handled ...

And I think it's Superintendent Jerry Payne's reaction. He's not denying what the resource officer did, but it does kind of almost sound like he's defending it: The pepper spray was pointed at the floor, not the kids, Payne pointed out ... and by the way, the students were taking too long to get to class and the pepper spray did force them to clear the hallway.

I'm fairly certain a bull horn would've done the same thing without sending kids to the hospital, but what do I know?

Maybe a whistle? Perhaps a loud, intimidating voice shouting, "Get to class!"

Anyway, here's the point: Pepper spraying a bunch of middle school kids was a huge mistake. No way around it. And the Superintendent's words and actions need to reflect that.

What would you do if your kid was one of the students who got pepper sprayed?


Image via Christopher Webb/Flickr

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