Students Evacuate Bus After Pepper Spraying - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/17/06-Jefferson

Students Evacuate Bus After Pepper Spraying

Dozens of kids are forced to evacuate their school bus after a canister of pepper spray goes off inside.   It happened Monday afternoon in Jefferson as children were being picked up at the elementary school to go home.

Eight-grader Dever Applewhite says Monday afternoon a can of, what she thought, was tear gas went off inside her school bus. "All of the Junior High kids and High School started dropping their windows and sticking their heads out and coughing and choking and spitting out the window and no one could hardly breath," says Dever.

But Jefferson officials say it was actually a vial of pepper spray that had been released underneath a bus-seat. "When they left us there was no student that I saw that had any reaction to this or lasting effect, there were no red eyes, no throwing up, no gagging that I saw," says Jefferson Assistant Superintendent Sandra Spencer.

Dever's mother says she thinks the kids should have received medical attention. "You expect them to be protected and if they're not you at least expect them to get medical care," Almeda Applewhite says.

The district says they observed the students for an hour and called each parent. "I would not have released the students to go home if I did not feel like everything was safe and we had done everything we could," says Spencer.

Dever says the incident has traumatized her.  "I'm not getting back on that bus."

And school officials aren't taking the offense lightly either. "Wasn't a very good prank... wasn't one that should have been pulled because of seriousness of it," says Chief Chuck Rogers with the Jefferson ISD Police Department.

They say whoever's responsible will receive in-school suspension.  And Spencer says they are sending a note home to parents today. That is also school policy when something like this happens.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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