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http://www.adn.com/front/story/4348745p-4357585c.html


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Police pepper-spray students in fighting incident
BARTLETT HIGH: Two students are arrested; 15 affected by over-spray.


By KATIE PESZNECKER
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: November 7, 2003)


Two Bartlett High School students were arrested in related incidents Thursday morning after police officers stationed there used pepper spray to stop a fight in a crowded hallway.

Police said two boys squared off in a first-floor hallway about 8:15 a.m., the passing time between first and second period. One boy was clearly the aggressor, police said, and the other seemed reluctant to fight. As many as 75 students crowded around, remaining as the tardy bell rang, said Lt. Gardner Cobb with the Anchorage Police Department.

"Some of the kids were chanting 'Fight, fight, fight,' " Cobb said. "The crowd egged the aggressor on."

Security officers radioed Jason Schmidt and Clinton Peck, the two police officers stationed at Bartlett. One police officer stepped between the boys and told them to stop. When the more aggressive teenager charged at the cop, spouting threats, the officer blasted him with his pepper spray. It wasn't immediately clear from a police statement which officer used the spray.

About 15 students in the hallways reported feeling the effects of the spray -- an intense burning and stinging. All but one were treated by the school nurse and returned to class. One student, who has asthma, was taken to Elmendorf hospital at her parents' request and released, Superintendent Carol Comeau said.

"It's unfortunate some of the kids were standing by and got some of the over-spray," said Cobb, who heads up the School Resource Officers program. "I know parents will be upset. But safety comes first, and we cannot tolerate kids beating other kids up."

The resource officers program stations 12 cops at Anchorage's six high schools. The officers also visit middle and elementary schools. The program is largely federally funded and aims to make schools safer and build trust between police and students.

The district has largely credited a lower number of fights this school year to this police program. In September, 29 students were suspended for fighting, compared with 84 in the same month last year, 63 in 2001, and 64 in 2000. Just having cops in the schools stops fights, Comeau said. Also, they're there to respond fast when fights do happen.

Vivian Yager, mother of a Bartlett student, said her daughter, Whitney, a 15-year-old Bartlett sophomore, was in the hallway and felt the searing effects of the pepper spray.

"I can understand them concentrating on stopping the people fighting," Yager said. But she added that she thinks using pepper spray in a hallway full of children was unwise and excessive.

"They should have done it differently," she said. "If they're allowed to mace them any time there's a little disturbance -- I don't feel safe with the police officers in the school. ...

"They should have said, 'If you don't get out of here, you're going to get maced,' " Yager said. "I bet the kids would have left then."

The Police Department will conduct an internal review to make sure the officer acted appropriately, Cobb said. But he said using the pepper spray made sense: Had the armed officer stopped the student by force -- thrown him to the floor, for example -- who knows how the swelling crowd would have responded, Cobb said.

Comeau said the situation probably would have unfolded the same way had the officers not been at the school. It just would have taken police longer to get there, she said.

"I have no reason to believe anything would have happened differently," Comeau said. "(Fighting) is totally unacceptable behavior in a school."

Cobb said after the aggressive boy was pepper-sprayed, police led him outside to handcuff him. The 16-year-old continued to struggle violently, Cobb said. So, once outside, the two cops doused him with pepper spray again.

As police led him back to the office, a friend of the boy appeared, swearing and shouting threats, Cobb said. When an assistant principal approached him, the boy laughed and headed upstairs. School staff and officers followed.

"This kid was swearing, threatening officers, wanting to fight anybody," Cobb said.

The boy, according to police, punched several lockers and ran into a classroom before shoving the assistant principal.

"So the officer took him to the floor and handcuffed him," Cobb said. Using pepper spray wasn't necessary in this instance because there wasn't an excited crowd of students around, he said.

The 16-year-old boy who was involved in the hallway fight was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. He was taken to McLaughlin Youth Center.

The boy who shoved the assistant principal was charged with assault and disorderly conduct. He was also taken to McLaughlin Youth Center.

The other boy involved in the hallway fight was not charged with any crimes, Cobb said.

The two boys who went to McLaughlin will get at least a nine-day suspension, Comeau said. They could face further discipline, including expulsion.
 

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Quote -

"They should have done it differently," she said.

I agree - they should have split his head like a melon

:D :D :D :D :D
 

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It seems to me that if the facts are as they were stated, that the officers acted appropriately. They used the minimum amount of force needed to bring the situation under control.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm trying to figure out what the parent assumes an alternative means would have been acceptable.

I'd like that mother to put herself in those officers' shoes for the 3 seconds it took to make that decision. What would she have done? Continued to beg the teen to stop, or stomped him into the pavement? Probably soiled herself and continued to beg him to stop as he pummels her.

Hello!!! These are police officers, if you don't follow their commands you're gonna be in trouble.

Theres going to be some interesting editorial comments from the public in next weeks paper. :rolleyes:
 

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I agree also. A verbal warning of pepperspray, may have disbursed the crowd and fighters, if they had not charged the officer giving him no time to give that warning. And every LEO that carries OC is sprayed during qualification. I was. It sucks. But there are no lasting effects. The kid with asthma should have gone to the hospital like he did. And if the crowd hadn't been gathered chanting "fight, fight, fight" they wouldn't have been there to get a taste! And I might add, would you rather me crack you with my ASP baton, or give you a little OC. The OC probably hurts as much at first, but there is little chance of longterm effect, like the poss nerve damage, fractures, bruising, etc that are associated with the baton.

Hershey
 

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What happened to the good old days when the principal had a paddle, belt, and a baseball bat?

Ms. Yager is clueless. Maybe a little parenting training for her will allow her to impart some good information to her daughter that maybe she should not be in places where the fit is hitting the shan. It is the "Oh no, my baby would never do anything wrong and if something happened to my baby, then it is somebody else's fault" syndrome.

And yet the gene pool remains viable.
 

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Re: Re: Police pepper-spray students in fighting incident

Double Naught Spy said:
And yet the gene pool remains viable.
Im not convinced. As any breeder knows its easy to introduce problems into the bloodline as a whole that dont become readily apparent until generations down the road.

:D
 

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The majority of our kids, as a nation that is, are like they are is because the majority of parents are... 1) clueless as to what their little angel is really like when not at home, or... 2) don't really care how their little turd is when not at home, or sometimes not even then.

To many parents believe that kids should be able to 'express' or 'find' themselves on their own. Then at the ages of 18 or 20, sometimes alot earlier, can't understand why their little baby is behind bars. It's the systems fault, they say.
 

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Re: Re: Re: Police pepper-spray students in fighting incident

Mus said:
Im not convinced. As any breeder knows its easy to introduce problems into the bloodline as a whole that dont become readily apparent until generations down the road.

:D

:D good one!
 

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I think the police acted accordingly. No one actually got hurt and the police did use the least amount of force to control the situation. They could have used night-sticks and really whooped up on someone. IMHO the police officers get 2 thumbs up from me.

Yes double naught, what DID happen to the good old days when students got "THE PADDLE". I've had the "PADDLE" straighten the wrinkles in my shorts a couple times:eek:
 

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rayjay said:
Yes double naught, what DID happen to the good old days when students got "THE PADDLE". I've had the "PADDLE" straighten the wrinkles in my shorts a couple times:eek:
With all the deviants and perverts in the school system these days its just lawsuits waiting to happen.

Do an internet search for spanking and youll see what Im talking about with what pops up.

Personally I dont understand the objection to a kid gettin peppersprayed if they were acting out violently. The cops should have just been like, "Alright lady next time we will subdue him with the batons if that makes you happy."
 

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if i were the security officer, id do what the good officer did. And in a polite and courteous manner, id whisper to his ear - if u do this again, ill cut your throat and let you sing like a tenor.:biglaugh:
 

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Given that pepper spray only squirts from 6 to 10 feet, and then drops off rapidly, it would seem that the little angel who got the overspray was probably in the firt ring of spectators shouting fight fight fight! In which case, she was acting in way that was likely to escalate the situation, at the least she was contributing to the disruption of school activity. The precious darling seems to have earned her taste of the pepper. :D
 

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^ thats right. At my old HS, spectating and egging on would get you in some serious trouble, and rightly so, all they were doing was encouraging the agressor. I saw two girls oc'd after a clear verbal warning to stop wailing the hell out of each other. It takes the fight out of the biggest hot head. Good job to the cops for handling it the right way, instead of the best way which is to bust them in the head with a stick.
 

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When I went to school the princple had a "Peeble Stick", it was a paddle with different sized holes in it.

She would threaten to beat you until your meat poked thru a hole, the larger the offense, the smaller the hole. There was only one guy in school, Sonny, who had a regular taste of the "Peeble."

Today they would probobly jail her, but we BEHAVED!
 

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Good job for the cops! As for all the "innocent" bystanders, had they obeyed the school bells and been in there classes, where they should have been, none of them would have gotten hit with the over spray. Just my .02.
 

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Good job to the cops! This would have been a great example for a taser! No overspray and only the one who was fighting would have ben affected. I can only imaging what Ms. Yagar would have to say about THE EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE BY THOSE MEAN OLD COPS! Maybe next time, he'll think twice about fighting in school.
 

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Hold on just a sec, there, Podnuh!

totoy bumbilya said:
if i were the security officer, id do what the good officer did. And in a polite and courteous manner, id whisper to his ear - if u do this again, ill cut your throat and let you sing like a tenor.:biglaugh:
I AM a tenor!!!

:D :D :D

I echo the sentiments of all those who have already posted. Bring back the corporal punishment! It worked!!!

bmcc
 
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