Pepper spray incidents plague Morgan Park High School; 7 reported since late April

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Parents are concerned that pepper spray incidents have nearly become a daily occurrence at Morgan Park High School on Chicago's Far South Side.

There have been seven incidents since April 25. The latest was Tuesday around 10:30 a.m., when Chicago police and fire crews responded to reports that pepper spray was discharged in the building. Eleven students were treated at hospitals.

"A lot of people have been going to the hospital and it's usually people with asthma and bronchitis. They can harm somebody or kill somebody and go to jail for wrong reasons," student Ashley Franklin said.

"They think it's the younger ones trying to impress older students, causing trouble for attention," student Nalon Hordle said.

A 17-year-old was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct in Tuesday's incident where students were told to shelter in place. That was a change from the first few times it happened, where the building was evacuated. Students and their parents say they are growing increasingly frustrated.

"How are they getting it in the school? They have guards searching kids, then they come up with the same thing," grandparent Richard Tollison said.

Chicago Public Schools said it has increased the number of security staff and enhanced screenings of students at the entrance.

A spokesperson said "CPS is taking this situation very seriously and we will double down on our efforts until we are confident the situation is fully resolved."

"It's a good school. It's just students trying to get attention, get out of school for free time, but it's affecting a lot of people," Hordle said.

The Chicago Police Department said it is working with CPS to find solutions to stop the growing number of these incidents.
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