Los Angeles

Pepper Spray Used on High Schoolers as Anti-Racism Protest Grows ‘Unruly’

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What started as a peaceful protest against racism Tuesday ended with school security officers deploying pepper spray when a group of high school students became “unruly,” the San Bernardino City Unified School District said.

The protest at Indian Springs High School began peacefully round 11: 30 a.m. but became large and unruly when a group of students tried to enter and disrupt a teacher’s classroom, district spokesperson Maria Garcia said in an email.

She said a small group of students refused staff’s request to return to class. A video posted to social media showed several students shouting in a hall. At one point, adults could be seen tussling with students.

The video then showed what appeared to be pepper spray in the air during the commotion. One student was rubbing his eye while screaming that he had been sprayed.

Garcia said no one was hurt. Two students went to the nurse’s office to be examined but did not require further medical attention, she said.

As a result, the school was placed in a “precautionary Secure and Hold” status from around 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Garcia said.

Maureen Clair told NBC4 she rushed over to the school after her son texted her about what had happened. Following Tuesday’s events, she said it’s important to get to the bottom of what had students so upset.

“That’s my biggest concern: what’s gonna keep them safe and what are the teachers doing or what are the people doing here that’s got these kids all riled up?” she said.

As a precaution, there will be additional district personnel and police officers on campus Wednesday.

“We have plans to give students opportunities to dialogue with each other and staff so they can express their viewpoints in a manner that is constructive and conducive to greater understanding,” Garcia said. “We discourage students from engaging in non-peaceful protests because they disrupt teaching and learning and can have negative, unintended consequences.”

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