Pepper spray given to student, 7, for self-defense, released on school bus

10 students treated in Winter Garden

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - Ten elementary students were treated Tuesday morning after pepper spray was released on an Orange County school bus, officials said.

The incident was reported at Summerlake Park Boulevard near Reams Road in Winter Garden.

The bus was carrying about 40 students to Independence Elementary School when the incident occurred.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office said a 7-year-old student received the pepper spray from a parent for self-defense, and another student deployed the canister.

A large police presence surrounded the bus.

"We just didn't know exactly what we had until we got here," Orange County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Billy Richardson said.

Ten students were affected by the spray, but declined to go to the hospital, officials said. 

Richardson said the kids suffered a burning sensation in their eyes and mouths.

"Every kid that was on the bus, we decontaminated their hands and their faces best we could," he said. "Actually, they did very well. The ones that were burning were, of course, crying and upset."

Parents said they were relieved once the situation was resolved.

"I was concerned, but the fire department (and) all the rescue team handled this in a wonderful way," a parent said. "The kids are wonderful. They're in perfect shape." 

Officials haven't named who released the pepper spray, or given a reason as to why.

Authorities initially said one person had been taken to the hospital.

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