TULSA - A security guard questioned by some parents for going too far by pepper spraying a group of fighting students says he stepped in when a teacher was in danger.
Last Thursday, a fist fight between students at Memorial High School ended when a security guard pepper sprayed the students to break up the fight.
According to the police report, the security guard said two groups of students began fighting and a teacher stepped in and was "attacked." The security guard said he had no other choice but to use the pepper spray to defend the teacher.
While teachers and the security guard attempted to break up the original fight, he said in the police report the suspects started punching and hitting him so he used the pepper spray again.
According to the report, a second guard then arrived and all the fight was disrupted.
A separate crowd of students was also hit by the pepper spray in the crowded hallway.
School officials said a nurse treated some students and staff who were hit by the pepper spray and EMSA paramedics also treated some students but no one was seriously injured.
The school district's policy states pepper spray should only be used as a tool for self-defense and protection:
The purpose of OC spray is as both a self-defense tool to control persons who pose a threat to the officer and to protect students or faculty/staff from others who are attempting to commit assault or battery. OC spray is not used to gain simple compliance to instruction but is designed to protect the officer from being assaulted and to protect others from the same. The use of OC spray is a use of force that is designed to gain control of an escalating situation with the understanding that the use in a closed and confined space may disrupt the school environment. Since it is disruptive, use is discouraged in all but the most serious cases of threatening behavior, assaults and fighting where students, faculty/staff or the officer personally is at risk of being injured.
Gary D. Rudick
Chief of Police
Tulsa Public Schools
According to the report, the security guard has visible marks on his arms and said his ribs and head hurt after the incident.
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