Students treated for pepper spray at Jamaica High School campus: Authorities

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About two dozen people at the Jamaica High School campus had to be treated earlier today after a Queens Collegiate High School student allegedly released pepper spray in the building’s shared cafeteria, officials said.

There are four different schools housed at the Gothic Drive campus, and students from Queens Collegiate were eating breakfast in the cafeteria when firefighters and EMS personnel responded to a call around 9 a.m. of pepper spray being released, the FDNY said.

The city Department of Education said a doctor was sent to the school, where 16 students were complaining about either tightness in their chests or burning in their eyes.

The cafeteria was aired out and parents were notified of the incident, the DOE added.

In 2008, the department began phasing grades out of Jamaica HS and started phasing in three other schools: the Hillside Arts & Letters Academy, the HS for Community Leadership and Queens Collegiate.

Several news reports earlier today had identified the site as Jamaica High, and Jamaica HS teacher James Eterno said the confusion has caused confusion for students and parents.

“People have been calling all day,” he said. “This had nothing to do with our school.”

Eterno said Jamaica High students were alarmed to see ambulances sitting outside the building and had to take their lunches to the auditorium while the cafeteria was cleared.

No arrests have been made and disciplinary action is pending, according to school officials.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 3:09 pm, March 5, 2013
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