UPDATE 03-04-2010 at 5:45pm by Jerry Askin
The Gadsden County School Board is speaking out after a parent claims she was never notified that her son was pepper sprayed by a school resource officer until after he got home from school on Thursday afternoon.
Gadsden County school board officials say the pepper spray was used by a resource officer at Shanks Middle School to break up a large fight, but never did the officer intentionally point the spray in any of the student's faces. Now, school board officials want to tell their side of the story.
Shanks Middle School principal Juanita Ellis says around 7:30 Thursday morning, a fight broke out in the gym involving two students. She say the resource officer sprayed pepper spray in the air to difuse the situation and control the many students.
The principal says everyone who came in contact with the pepper spray was sent to the nurse's office shortly after. The principal showed us documentation that supports the claim that school officials contacted the parents of all 26 students involved.
The Superintendent's Office released this statement to WCTV saying, "Our preliminary investigation reveals that the security officer acted in due diligence. Our investigation has been launced to ensure that proper protocol was followed."
The principal at Shanks Middle School says she want parents to know that safety of children is a priority and the school will do what's necessary to keep children safe.
School board officials say the pepper spray is permitted to be used in times like these when there's a threat of bodily injury. ______________________________________________________
UPDATE by Amy Long
A Gadsden County mom is outraged when her son and nephew tell her they were pepper sprayed at school.
The Gadsden County superintendent's office was able to confirm that about 18 kids were pepper sprayed when a fight broke out at James A. Shanks Middle School in Quincy Thursday.
Jacquelyn Smith says she didn't hear about the pepper spray until her 11-year-old son and 13-year-old nephew came home from school. Smith says the boys eyes were red and irritated- her son had to rinse his eyes out again at home.
The Gadsden County Superintendent's Office says Shanks Middle School students were all running towards a fight and that's when pepper spray was used to diffuse the situation
The school board also says they attempted to to contact all of the parents.
Smith says she never got that call and now, she wants answers.
"The kids were pepper sprayed. I didn't get any call at all.This happened early in the morning like maybe around 8 o'clock and the first time I'm hearing about it is after 3pm? I'm not hearing about it. According to them he walks, I guess he blew his whistle and then just started spraying." says Jacquelyn Smith,
Jacovy Smith, a 6th grade student at Shanks Middle School, adds, "We all had went to our first period class and they told us to come to the office, every one who got pepper sprayed come to the office. and the clinic lady had rinsed our eye out and told us to go back to class."
Gadsden County Schools says every one who came in contact with the spray was sent to the nurses office and says the principal attempted to get in touch with all the parents.
The school board also say a security guard is permitted to use the spray when there's a threat of bodily injury.
The boys did tell me that not only were they not involved in the fight- they claim they were just sitting in the area when the spray was released.
Jacquelyn Smith says she she started calling Shanks Middle around 4pm on Thursday and has yet to hear a response.
Quincy, FL - Shaia Beckwith-James with the Superintendent’s Office has confirmed that at least 18 students were pepper sprayed during an incident at James A. Shanks Middle School today(3-3).
She says the students were all running towards a fight and were pepper sprayed to diffuse the situation.
Shaia also says the principal attempted to contact all of the students' parents. Shaia adds that all of the students were treated by a registered nurse on campus.
WCTV was contacted by a parent who had alerted us of the altercation and expressed disappointment at not being contacted by school administrators.