By Pat Warren

ESSEX, Md. (WJZ) — Pepper spray released in a Baltimore County high school sent 16 people to local hospitals. Officers tell WJZ a school officer used pepper spray to break up a fight.

Pat Warren has more on what happened.

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One student arrested, the school evacuated and 16 taken to local hospitals. It was a chaotic morning at Chesapeake High School.

The students fought in the Chesapeake High School lobby.

“I saw everyone running and panicking in a frenzy,” said a student.

“Kids were going at it,” said a student.

A school resource officer used pepper spray.

“And I just remember just starting to cough and cough and cough,” said a student.

The building was evacuated and 16 students were transported to local hospitals. Parents rushed to pick up their children.

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“This is why we had her in a small, private Catholic school for 10 years,” said one mother.

“And I’ve had enough. My daughter doesn’t feel safe,” said another mother.

Baltimore County’s public safety spokesperson says using pepper spray is authorized to bring a situation under control.

“They’re authorized to begin with the least possible force and escalate to the most possible force,” said Elise Armacost. “Pepper spray is a tool that is used occasionally to break up a fight when they determine it’s necessary to do that.”

“I cannot believe they would use mace on a child,” said a mother.

Parents who picked up their students Tuesday say they are concerned about fighting at the school.

“This should not be happening. It is just an everyday occurrence and I’ve had enough of it,” said Doris Colvin.

One student was arrested but the details of the arrest are unavailable at this time. WJZ was unable to verify reports that there are frequent fights at the school.

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The effects of the pepper spray are not considered serious.