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Florida student mistakes pepper spray for body spray

41 students treated for minor injuries, principal said

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida middle school student mistakenly released pepper spray after grabbing what he thought was a canister of body spray from another student, school district officials said.

The seventh grade student has been issued a civil citation for the Feb. 28 incident at Highlands Middle School in Jacksonville that sent 41 students to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries, Principal Evan Daniels said in pre-recorded messages sent to parents on Thursday, the Florida Times-Union reported.

“Thinking it was body spray, the student who took the canister actually sprayed himself as if he were applying a body fragrance product,” Daniels said. “The gymnasium was evacuated and ultimately 41 students were transported to area hospitals for care.”

The student who brought the pepper spray to school will face appropriate disciplinary consequences for bringing a prohibited substance onto the campus, the school district said.

“We take it very seriously, but we’re also ... dealing with students here,” School Police Department Director Micheal Edwards said in a news conference.