Police pepper spray classroom blunder hits eight four and five year olds
Eight young schoolchildren suffered the effects of pepper spray – after a blunder by a police officer giving a classroom lesson.
A police force had to issue an embarrassing apology after the painful irritant was let off during a demonstration to pupils at a South Wales Valleys school on Wednesday.
The hapless officer was supposed to have used a mock canister, filled with water, for the display. But they instead picked up the genuine spray in error, and sprayed it in the classroom.
The eight affected pupils were aged four and five.
Parents last night spoke of their concern that the PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide) canister had been sprayed.
PAVA is a “potent” chemical that can cause “severe” eye pain, according to the Home Office.
One parent at the Bargoed school, who did not want to be named, said: “My son was in the class when the pepper spray was released.
“We had a phone call from the school to say it had happened.”
She is now monitoring her son for any problems and continue to do so over the next few days, but so far he seems fine.
She added: “I’m not happy about it but at the same time, it seems to be a genuine mistake.”
Councillor Tudor Davies, who represents Bargoed on Caerphilly council, said: “I’m amazed. As far as I’m concerned, this needs to be investigated. You don’t pepper spray children at the end of the day.”
A police spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “On Wednesday, a schools liaison officer was delivering a lesson to pupils at Ysgol Gymraeg Gilfach Fargoed.
“As part of the lesson, equipment that police officers use is demonstrated.
“This included a mock PAVA spray, which is usually filled with water, genuine PAVA sprays are not taken into schools.
“On this occasion a genuine PAVA spray was picked up in error, therefore, whilst undertaking the lesson and demonstrating the equipment, the spray was discharged in the classroom.
“This resulted in eight pupils, aged four and five, being affected by PAVA spray.
“The pupils were cared for by school staff, and their parents were informed.
“Parents were contacted by a senior officer to explain what happened, discuss any concerns and offer our sincere apologies.
“Medical treatment wasn’t required on the day, however, parents were advised to seek medical attention if they had any concerns.
“Further enquiries into the error are now being undertaken, and a result of the incident school liaison officers will no longer be taking any demonstration (mock) PAVA spray into schools.”