A 12-year-old student who brought pepper spray to a South Philadelphia elementary school left the building in handcuffs yesterday morning after another student sprayed a classroom.
About 60 students and at least one teacher experienced coughing from throat irritation and were checked by medics, said Executive Fire Chief Daniel Williams. No one requested hospital treatment, he said.
The incident at 568-student Alcorn Elementary School prompted a large emergency response from the Police and Fire Departments after two students went to the school nurse and reported they felt sick from noxious fumes, authorities said.
The incident was reported about 10:15 a.m. Crews rushed to 32d and Dickinson Streets in Grays Ferry as school officials relocated students from the third floor, where the incident took place, to the first floor.
Officer Jillian Russell, a police spokeswoman, said the 12-year-old girl had the pepper spray in her bag. Another student took it out and the can was passed around among students before one of them sprayed it in the classroom, she said.
The student who brought the spray to school was charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a weapon in school, Russell said. It was unclear whether the student who sprayed the classroom knew the can contained pepper spray.
Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the school district, said that the matter was under investigation. Action could be taken against other students responsible, he said. The student who brought the pepper spray into the school faces an immediate five- to 10-day suspension pending a review by the school board, which could take further action.