Elementary school student pepper sprays a classmate

We’re used to seeing police use pepper spray to take down criminals. But an elementary school student¬†used it on a classmate. For parents, it is a troubling incident that makes them question sending their children to that school.

Lindsey Rotondo said it is hard to even think about the traumatizing experience.

“I can’t imagine the physical pain that a child would feel from being pepper sprayed,” Rotondo said. “That parents knew that there’s nothing they can do about it — it already happened and they’re kind of just left to pick up the pieces.”

Pick up the pieces at Poinciana Elementary.

North Collier Fire confirms one student pepper sprayed a classmate and they both needed medical attention. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office confirms it is investigating. But neither could tell us why or how the child had a self-defense mechanism in the first place.

“Makes me feel uncomfortable sending my kids to school where that might happen,”¬†said Bridget Washburn, a mother. “I think that’s the job of our government officials and our public school systems and other parents as well.”

Pepper spray can irritate and inflame the eyes, even causing temporary blindness. The person may cry and have difficult breathing for up to two hours.

Washburn is a mother of two children and said whatever the case may be, there is no reason pepper spray should be in an elementary school.

“I feel like parents have to have the right to feel comfortable and safe sending their kids to school,” Washburn said, “and not feel worried when they send them out the door every day.”

“I would be terrified of that happening to my child,” Rotondo said.

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Michael Mora
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