A 14-year old girl pepper-sprayed her classmates at a Harlem high school Tuesday, sending 9 students to the hospital.
Education officials are investigating the incident which occurred at 2:30PM at The Academy For Social Action on West 129th Street (you may remember the C-rated academy for a Principal/Assistant Principal sex scandal last year). One student told The New York Post that the girl sprayed the irritant indiscriminately into the air.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 2:40 PM with a hazmat unit to evaluate 11 students. 9 ended up being transported to St. Luke's-Roosevelt hospital and were treated for minor injuries.
Police at the scene issued the girl a summons (although, as New York Magazine notes, "We're pretty sure she was just imitating something she saw them do on TV").
Self-defense sprays have peppered news headlines across the country recently--from the questionable use of sprays during Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and demonstrations at UC Davis in California, to a Wal-Mart shopper caught up in Black Friday mayhem.
And just earlier this month, 17 students in the Bronx were sent to the hospital after an assailant entered their school and discharged pepper spray.
Democracy Now interviewed one of the creators of pepper-spray, Kamran Loghman, about its recent widespread use, namely by police. "The use was just absolutely out of the ordinary and it was not in accordance with any training or policy of any department that I know of," he said. "I personally certified 4,000 police officers in the early '80s and '90s and I have never seen this before. That's why I was shocked... I feel is my civic duty to explain to the public that this is not what pepper spray was developed for."