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Pine Bluff junior high students pepper sprayed

by The Associated Press | April 6, 2012 at 7:04 p.m.

— A police officer working at a junior high school in Pine Bluff used pepper spray in a hallway to get students to move inside their classrooms.

Superintendent Jerry Payne says three students were taken to a hospital and another 17 left school for the day after the Thursday incident.

Student Faith Forney told Little Rock television station KLRT that students were gagging and vomiting after the officer used the spray.

Pine Bluff police spokesman Lt. Bob Rawlinson told The Associated Press that the department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident and that he couldn’t release a report.

Payne says the officer used the spray by pointing it at the ground because students weren’t getting to class quickly enough.

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