Middle-schoolers sent to hospital after police use pepper-spray to break up fight

2nd time school district police have used tactic to break up fight at a school this year

Howell L. Watkins Middle School is a magnet school located in Palm Beach Gardens. (Google maps)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Three middle school students were taken to a hospital and treated after police used pepper spray to break up a fight, authorities said.

Three other students at Howell Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens were taken into custody following the Wednesday afternoon incident, the Palm Beach County School District said.

This was at least the second time school district police have used the nontoxic spray to break up fights this year. In March, they used it to break up an altercation at Royal Palm Beach High School, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The spray irritates the eyes and even can cause temporary blindness.

Watkins Principal Presley Charles said in a statement to parents that school police responded to an incident in which several students became aggressive with each other.

The pepper spray was used to disperse the students involved as other students came to see what was happening, he said.

No further explanation of the incident was offered.

Charles told parents that the three students were treated at a hospital and the three believed to have been involved in the altercation face possible discipline under the Student Code of Conduct.


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