Police Reportedly Pepper Stray Junior High School Students For Failing To Move To Class Fast Enough After Lunch

A former student of mine sent me this disturbing story about students at Jack Robey Junior High School in Pine Bluff being pepper-sprayed when they failed to go to their classes fast enough after lunch. One mother says that her daughter suffered a severe allergic reaction to the spray.

School superintendent Jerry Payne confirmed the use of the pepper-spray by an officer because students were moving too slow to their classes. The officer reportedly said that he sprayed toward the ground as opposed directly at the students. That is hardly an improvement. The idea of spraying a painful caustic substance into a hall as a crowd motivator is the definition of not just negligence but assault and battery.

There is an obvious basis here for a lawsuit if these facts are confirmed. Not only can a tort case be filed, it would seem a valid case for not just compensatory but punitive damages if they are allowed. Both the school and the police department are potential defendants as well as the individual officer since this was done within the scope of his employment. While officers are given limited immunity in civil cases, such immunity is generally lost in cases of abusive treatment in violation of both law and policy. This would appear such a case. No police department endorses the use of pepper spray as a crowd motivator.

Kudos: Casey Fos

Source: CW

52 thoughts on “Police Reportedly Pepper Stray Junior High School Students For Failing To Move To Class Fast Enough After Lunch”

  1. What you don’t know is that this school has recently had riots and large gang fights. They were started by groups of students hanging out in the hallways after lunch. The riots were successfully and nonviolently contained by the resource officers but started back up the next day with officers and students being hit by balloons filled with urine, beer and bleach. Jack Robey is an low performing school in a town that has a median income of $7200 a year. The crime rate is very high with one of the highest rates of violent crimes in the nation. I work in this school from time to time with the students and think spraying a little pepper spray on the ground to show you mean business and thwart possible riots may not be appropriate at St. Mary’s School for Angels but may be somewhere else. It’s not like these kids were running late because the water fountain line was long. They were a group of rowdy kids who were being defiant and increasingly oppositional with a police offer who was trying to maintain safety and order for the ones who were in the classrooms.

  2. Just to get some perspective on what kind of middle school this was, I looked up its rating in greatschools (google Jack Robey Middle School, Pine Bluff, then click on on the entry for greatschools.com). What you find is that it is listed as rock bottom, 1 on a scale of 1-10. This tells me that it is probably African-American and that there is no budget for it. It’s the kind of school where either teachers buy their own materials or don’t use them. It’s the kind of place where the surrender to busywork is what fills the kids’ days. Of course they don’t want to return to their holding cells after lunch. The attitude of such teachers becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It takes energy to break out of stereotyping your own students. So many teachers become time-servers. Wouldn’t a decent school with teachers loyal to the students be in an uproar? But whether the jailer wears a police uniform or a sweater and slacks, the problem is in the system which exists for itself and not to inform and educate a new generation. It is there to keep the rot going, and to gently stir it from time to time. The place should be shut down.

  3. These are children. The police have gotten completely out of hand with the pepper spray here of late. I wonder if they think they have the right to pepper spray any citizen of this country who does not comply with them instantly? Seems a bit over the top to me… next they will spray babies for accidents in their diapers if it keeps going the way it’s going. Someone has got to get a handle on this-because it is a dangerous thing when they LAW believes they are above the law…

  4. Blouise,

    Yeah, I dig the theme music too, but also the “models” (I’m assuming it is CGI instead of physical models) used for the old style clockwork-map in the intro. Very stylish.

  5. Blouise, I assume you mean Michigan. One I drove my mother and a toddler all the way from Texas to Mackinac Island.

  6. SwM,


    We might go up to the Islands … weather will be the determining factor.

  7. Gene,

    It always tickles me when raf gives voice to the math admonition . Tickles me because I feel the same way but can always count on him to say something so that I don’t have to.

  8. SwM,

    Great cello work in the first few bars of the theme song … after the drums lead it off.

    I’ve started with Season 1 which is On Demand

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