A clip of fourteen Criminal Science Technology students at Barberton High School in Ohio getting pepper sprayed in the face for class has recently gone viral on YouTube, receiving over 100k views in the past three days. I remember high school being rough, but not like this.
In the video, the man administering the test repeats, “Stop resisting, please comply,” as he sprays each student one by one. The effects of the pepper spray (which contains oleoresin capsicum, an oil found in the spiciest peppers) are soon made apparent as the students start screaming and pleading for help. Not going to lie, the clip is a little hard to watch.
The strange part is that this was a completely voluntary exercise that the students themselves signed up for (with parental consent, which has me asking so many questions).
“Students had an opportunity to voluntarily participate in an activity in which they would be subjected to a small amount of pepper spray for a brief period of time. The activity was conducted by the class instructor, who is a former police chief, and an experienced professional,” said Barberton City Schools Superintendent Patricia Cleary. “Added supervision was provided by the school’s resource officer. Students were required to have parental permission and consent in order to participate in the voluntary exercise. The intent of the training is to help the students gain an industry recognized credential in the law and public safety course curriculum that is offered by the Ohio Department of Education.”
This is apparently something they do every year. Photos from last year’s exercise can be found on Facebook.
While I can understand the need to experience something like this if you plan on going into law enforcement, the fact that it was done at a high school still seems a little off, but who am I to judge? If it helps the students gain an important skill, and maybe even a little extra empathy for when they find themselves at the other end of that spray, maybe it’ll all be worth it. Only time will tell.