Madison County

Madison Central High evacuated after student releases pepper spray

A student accidentally released pepper spray into a classroom Thursday at Madison Central High School in Richmond. Students went home after they complained of throat irritations, said Erin Stewart, spokeswoman for the Madison County school district.

“It didn’t spray anybody, but it went into the air, and they pulled a fire alarm and evacuated the building so we could get the air cleaned out,” Stewart said.

Some students went home because they “had irritations in their throats,” she said. “That stuff is pretty potent, even if it did just spray a backpack.” Stewart said she didn’t know how many students went home.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. All of the school’s 1,900 students were evacuated for about 15 minutes, and students who were in the classroom were taken to a gym for a short time after the initial 15 minutes, Stewart said. Classes resumed once Richmond firefighters had cleared the air with fans.

Stewart said she didn’t think the student broke any rules by bringing pepper spray to school.

“From what I’ve been told, she went to pull keys out of the backpack, and the lid of it popped off and it sprayed,” Stewart said. The dispenser was on a keychain, Stewart said.