14-Year-Old Harlem Student Goes On Pepper Spray Rampage

By  | 

pepper spray teen high school harlemJust last week, a 30-something California woman pepper sprayed her fellow Wal-Mart shoppers, including children, because they were hindering her Black Friday bargain-hunting experience. Days earlier, a 19-year-old expectant mom was pepper-sprayed and struck twice in the stomach by police at an Occupy Wall Street protest in Seattle (she later suffered a miscarriage). And now a 14-year-old Harlem girl has sent eight student to the hospital following a pepper-spray rampage at her local high school.

According to the New York Daily News, the incident took place in an Academy for Social Action classroom yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, the students suffered minor injuries only, but that doesn’t change the fact that a student felt the need to blast noxious chemicals into her school hallways. (It reminds of Heathers in a strange kind of way.)

Of course, the first thing I wondered was whether this student was being bullied and acting in self-defense. Not that that would make it okay for her to mace her high school, but it would at least offer some kind of insight into her actions. I’m also grateful that she was carrying around a bottle of pepper spray and not a gun, as so many students tend to do.

The incident raises bigger issues about school safety, including bullying. In fact, the Daily News reports that just 73% of students at this particular high school said they feel safe in the school’s hallways and bathrooms. And now it’s easy to see why. I’m sure pepper spray bottles will be confiscated from here on in, but that doesn’t solve the root of the problem. Why would a 14-year-old girl feel the need to mace her classmates in the first place?

(Photo: George Doyle)