UPDATED: 9/18/2013 4:55 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Fire Department says several children at the Marsh Elementary School at 98th and Exchange were sickened by pepper spray on Wednesday afternoon.
Final from the EMS plan 1 at Marsh School. 23 green, 3 yellow. All are in good condition. CPD investigating.
— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) September 18, 2013
Fire Department posted on Twitter that a total of 26 children were taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police said a 14-year-old girl had a small canister around her neck in the lunch line, which she said that it was an inhaler. Another 14-year-old girl pressed the button, and accidentally pepper sprayed the lunch room.
“A lot of kids’stomachs started hurting, and heads started hurting,” said student Karina Garibay. “This girl had pepper spray and this other girl was, like, ‘Is it real?’ So she sprayed the floor, and then when she sprayed it, everybody started choking. All the kids who had asthma couldn’t breathe.”
A Fire Department spokesman said 23 of the children were in good condition, but three were more seriously affected because of allergies, and perhaps asthma.
Those three were taken to hospitals in fair condition.
Some parents were upset that they weren’t notified by the school–only to learn about the incident from other parents.
“We had to find out when we got here,” said Arturo Marin, whose son Arturo Jr. was treated at the hospital. “It frustrating to find out that they can’t even notify you.”
Back in January, some parents at the same school were upset that they weren’t informed that a 13-year-old boy had brought a gun and ammunition to the school.
They said that they read about it the next day.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reported, the parents were angry they didn’t learn about the incident from the school, but from reading about it on Facebook.
A 13-year-old boy was arrested after bringing an unloaded revolver and some bullets to school, and placing them in his locker.
CPS released a statement saying, “This was an unfortunate accident and school officials took the appropriate steps to ensure the well-being of all students.”