4 students hurt by pepper spray at Sawyer Elementary

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Sawyer Elementary School, 5248 S. Spaulding Ave. | Google Maps

Four students were taken to a hospital Thursday after pepper spray was discharged at Sawyer Elementary School in Gage Park on the Southwest Side.

An “aerosol irritant” was sprayed inside a classroom about 1 p.m. at the school, 5248 S. Spaulding Ave., according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

Four students were taken to Holy Cross Hospital in good condition, Langford said. The spray was contained to a single classroom and no hazardous materials response was required.

It was not immediately clear whether the chemical was sprayed intentionally or accidentally, Langford said.

The classroom was evacuated to the auditorium after a student released the spray, according to Emily Bolton, a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools. Some students were taken to hospitals “out of an abundance of caution,” she said.

“We are committed to providing your children with the safe, positive learning environment they deserve and will work diligently to address the issue,” Bolton said. “Please feel free to contact the school directly with any questions or concerns.”

Chicago police did not provide further details about the incident.

Dozens of students have been injured by aerosol spray discharges at Chicago schools since last month. Six of those incidents have occurred at Morgan Park High School, the most recent of which left 11 students hurt on Tuesday morning.

Fourteen Gresham Elementary School students were also hurt by pepper spray last week.

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