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29 students being evaluated after pepper spray incident at DC school

Washington Post editors

Twenty-nine students at the private Lab School in Northwest Washington were taken to hospitals Friday morning, most of them for precautionary reasons, after someone apparently discharged a canister of pepper spray in the campus’ high school building, the D.C. fire department and a school spokesman said.

The incident occurred about 9:30 a.m. in a building that houses 147 high school students and other students in the fifth through eighth grades, school spokesman Edison Lee said. He said a separate building for children in the first through fourth grades was not affected.

The Lab School, in the 4700 block of River Road NW, specializes in educating youngsters with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

Edison and fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said school officials called for help after someone apparently discharged the pepper spray in a classroom on the second floor, where high school students attend classes. All the youngsters who were taken to hospitals are high school students. The younger students in the high school building attend classes on lower floors.

Piringer said 32 students and staff members were evaluated by emergency workers and 27 students, all from the high school, were taken to a hospital in an ambulance-bus to be further checked out, although none was showing any ill symptoms.

Two others students, a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, were taken to another hospital, Piringer said. He said those two possibly had “pre-existing medical conditions” that appeared to have been aggravated by the pepper spray.

Students and staff members were moved to one part of the two-story high school building while firefighters ventilated the building, Piringer said. Edison said the empty canister was found in a second-floor classroom. D.C. police are investigating the incident.

By noon, Edison said, “all students are back in the classrooms and teachers are teaching.”

-- Paul Duggan

By Washington Post editors  |  February 26, 2010; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Paul Duggan , The District  
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