ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — At least 10 people were taken to the hospital — and a police officer was forced to use pepper spray — after a fight broke out Wednesday at Royal Palm Beach Community High School, authorities said.
The School District of Palm Beach County said four to six girls got into a fight during lunch at the school, located at 10600 Okeechobee Boulevard.
A school district police officer was forced to use pepper spray to "regain crowd control," according to a phone call from Principal Michelle Fleming to parents.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said at least 10 patients were taken to local hospitals. Other students were treated by paramedics and the school nurse for a "burning eye sensation," Fleming said.
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"The situation has been contained and the school is currently on limited movement," Fleming added in her call to parents.
Students told WPTV that fights are common at Royal Palm Beach High School, and so is pepper spray being used on campus to disperse them.
Aniya Jones, a twelfth grade student at the school, said fights seem to be on the rise, especially right before next week's Spring Break.
"There’s somebody you don’t like and they say something to you. Not everybody has the mindset to ignore," Jones said. "So there’s only so much administration can do. We have to play our part as a student and say, OK, I’m not gonna do that."
"They fight every day," a parent named Mercedes said. "There was a fight today which included my daughter being jumped on by a gang of bullies."
Mercedes said she's frustrated and feels the school could do more to stop these fights before they get out of hand.
"I came here to make sure my child was safe and they failed me as a parent. They failed my child as a student. She don’t feel safe coming here," Mercedes said.
Jones hopes her fellow peers can also help stop the fighting, and she’d also like to see less pepper spray on campus.
"Some type of loud announcement should be made to clear the crowd before the pepper spray is used," Jones said.
A spokesperson for the School District of Palm Beach County said one student was detained, but it's unclear if they were arrested.
The school district's police department will investigate Wednesday's incident to see if the officer followed proper protocol in deploying the pepper spray.