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Brighton Schools Evacuated After Pepper Spray Incident

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Students standing outside the Taft Middle School after it was evacuated Thursday.

Students standing outside the Taft Middle School after it was evacuated Thursday.

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BRIGHTON (CBS) – Students and staff in the building that houses the Boston Community Leadership Academy and Another Course to College were evacuated briefly Thursday morning, after someone sprayed pepper spray in an empty hallway.

Thirty-three students were treated by emergency workers and were taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital as a precaution. By the afternoon, the vast majority of the students had been released from the hospital, with the rest expected to be released later in the day, school officials said.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.

They were suffering from eye and skin irritation and respiratory problems.  However, none of the injuries were considered serious.

It’s not clear yet who had the pepper spray or why it was used, but officials said they think they know which students were behind the incident.  Investigators said spray was in a five-ounce canister.

“There was a small canister. We don’t know who did it. The school police came on scene and took command of the canister and they held it and they showed it to us. It was probably five ounces. It was all released and that was it,” said Dist. Chief Paul Burke of the Boston Fire Department.

Officials said the Boston Fire Department as well as the Boston Public Schools facilities department conducted air quality tests in the school and determined it was safe to reenter, however both schools were released at 1 p.m. to give custodial crews additional time to air out the building.

According to Boston Public Schools spokesman Matt Wilder, both schools will reopen on a normal schedule on Friday.

Wilder added that the Boston Community Leadership Academy, which is a high school, was once the William Howard Taft Middle School.

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