School District will pay ER costs for students affected by pepper spray

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DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Davenport School District says it will pay for ER costs after 26 students were sent to the hospital when pepper spray went off inside a lunch room.

Last week at Williams Intermediate School, the pepper spray went off while 60 students were eating during the last lunch period of the day. Twenty-six students were taken tot he hospital with respiratory issues.

Since then, parents have been wondering who would pay for the treatment. The school district says their insurance company will cover it, but it will be up to the parents to pay for any co-payments or deductibles.

Parents were also upset that they were not notified in a timely manner after the incident.

Dawn Saul, communications and media relations official for the school, called the incident "an unsettling situation."

"The first priority was to ensure the health, safety, and security of our students," said Saul.

Saul said that 911 was called right away and students were treated by the school's nurses. Some students were taken to the hospital by ambulance, where they were treated and released. Police investigated the incident from there. Every school has a protocol on how to deal with emergency situations, but Saul said each situation is unique and needs to be handled accordingly.

"Administrators were actively working to reach the parents/guardians of any child who had been transported. I believe all were notified before the parent notification was sent out.  Administrators from other schools went to the hospitals to provide a presence until parents/guardians could arrive," said Saul, who also said most of the feedback they've received from parents has been positive.

Details on how the pepper spray got into the building has not been released.