School Dismissed after Student Releases Pepper Spray

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PARADISE TOWNSHIP -- Police tell us a student sprayed pepper spray inside the Pocono Mountain East High School Wednesday morning.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police tell us a high school senior released pepper spray in a hallway between first and second period, around 9 a.m.

"I didn't feel anything, walking through the other hallway, but some people were like, 'Oh, as soon as I passed the gym, I felt it and started coughing,'" said junior Johnnely Saldana.

She says she went to her classroom. Her mom was worried for her daughter's safety.

"She sent me a message, said, 'Mom, somebody sprayed pepper in the school.'  I said, 'Oh, my God!' I was trying to get ready to go and pick her up," said Elizabeth Saldana.

District officials decided to dismiss the entire high school for the day, while staff worked to air out the building.

The superintendent later released this statement:

"Preliminary results of the investigation reveal the dispensing of the substance was not malicious in nature.  Classes will resume tomorrow morning."

Pocono Mountain Regional Police and local fire departments cleared the East high school by late morning and determined everything inside was safe.

According to the handbook posted on the school district website, weapons are prohibited on school property and in school buildings. That includes knives, guns, and pepper spray, among several other items.

Students agree this never should have happened.

"I feel like, why would you bring pepper spray to school? It's basically like bringing a gun. You shouldn't do that," said Johnnely Saldana.

Police say they do not plan to file any charges and they've turned things over to the school district.

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