A 17-year-old student was charged with mischief, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and assault with a weapon, after releasing pepper spray in the atrium of Abbotsford Senior Secondary School last Thursday.
A handful of students had asthmatic reactions after the student released the pepper spray during the lunch break. One student was taken to hospital for decontamination following the incident, but no students sustained any injuries.
The school then contacted Abbotsford Police and ambulance, and the suspect was arrested.
According to Dave Stephen, communications manager for the school district, the school’s emergency fan system was quickly turned on and the air was replaced in short order.
Stephen said following Thursday’s incident, the district was made aware of a previous release of pepper spray at the school in October, but that was quickly contained to a stairwell and did not impact students.
In addition to facing charges, the student has been suspended and will go to the district’s board of review within weeks to discuss the potential for further disciplinary action.
Stephen said the incident is being taken very seriously, as releasing pepper spray could negatively impact the health of students and staff.
“There are pranks and then there are more serious incidents. If someone thought this was a prank, they are seriously misguided.”
Posts on social media suggest there was a recent pepper spray incident at W.J. Mouat Secondary, although Stephen did not have details.