Police officers visiting a school to talk to children about “respecting your peers” broke up a playground fight between two pupils – using pepper spray.
The two PCs were lecturing youngsters at Danetre and Southbrook Learning Village, in Daventry, Northants., on December 3 when a scuffle broke out at lunchtime between two 15-year-old boys.
One officer then sprayed the painful anti-riot device in the lads’ faces- even though no punches were thrown.
Police defended claims the tactic was too heavy-handed saying it was the most appropriate means to break up the fight between the two 15-year-old boys.
They said the pepper spray was used because physically separating the boys could have “dislocated their shoulders or broken their arms.”
Sgt Sam Dodds, from Northamptonshire police said: “The school invited us in for a week to talk to the students about their role in the school among their peers and in the wider community.
“It also gave us a good chance to try and break down some of the barriers.
“While we were in the school on the Monday a scuffle broke out.
“The two students involved were being kept apart, but it was clear they were not calming down.
“Teachers only have the same powers as the general public have in these circumstance and there was a worry the children or others might be injured, so we deployed parva [pepper] spray.”
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police added: “It was deemed the most appropriate means to split up the two boys.
“Physically pulling away 15-year-old’s in they situation could cause injuries to the children – such as dislocated shoulders and broken arms.
“The effects of the spray wear off quickly and there is no lasting damage.”
However, parents of children at the academy school, which caters for pupils aged 3-19, yesterday gave a mixed reaction to the police officers’ actions.
A mum-of-two, who did not wish to be named, said: “I thought pepper spray was only used in extreme circumstances – not on young teenagers.
“It was a heavy-handed tactic and a bit over the top I believe.”
Another parent added: “It’ll teach them a good lesson. They won’t do it again in a hurry will they?”
Headteacher David Howell said: “It’s not a situation we’d normally call the police in, but given they were here it seemed sensible.
“The good thing was that in the end no one was injured and no punches where thrown.”