Student releases pepper spray in High Desert Middle School hall, principal says

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A student at High Desert Middle School in Bend released pepper spray inside a crowded hallway Thursday, according to a letter from the principal. Some students and staff were “directly affected.”

Principal Jessica Reilly said it happened on the way back to class from first lunch.

“We cleared the hallway of students as quickly as possible to minimize the impact of the pepper spray. When we released students for second lunch, we made sure they used an alternate route to get to the cafeteria,” Reilly said.

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The school nurse and EMTs evaluated students who were directly affected, Reilly said.

“The EMTs and Nurse Collins were able to give some students a saline solution to rinse their eyes and advised that any student involved should rinse their hands and arms as soon as possible,” Reilly said. “They also advised affected students to shower thoroughly and change their clothes at the first opportunity.”

Those students’ families were notified, according to Reilly. An alert was also sent out to families through the BLConnect system.

The school did not say if the student released the pepper spray intentionally or accidentally. Regardless, Reilly said pepper spray and other noxious or irritating gasses are not allowed within the school. Any student who brings pepper spray to school faces disciplinary action.

“While disappointed that this happened, I am pleased to share that our students responded immediately and appropriately to our quick directions to keep everyone safe. Many of our students were concerned and asking about staff affected by this incident. We let all students know that everyone affected is unharmed. We have so many caring and responsible students at High Desert Middle School, and it’s my honor to be a part of this community,” Reilly said.

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