Sheriff: Pepper Spray May Have Been The Irritant That Caused An Evacuation of Ballenger Creek MS Last Week

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins

He says the investigation into this incident is continuing.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – Last Friday’s incident at Ballenger Creek Middle School where an irritant was released into the air is under investigation.

In an appearance  Monday on WFMD”s “Morning News Express,”: Frederick County Sheriff  Chuck Jenkins says these incidents use up a lot of resources. “We spend an awful .lot of time and manpower and hours and resources responding to these threats. now being carried out by students,” he says., “And in Ballenger {Creek Middle School}, we believe it was pepper spray, a rag soaked in pepper spray was placed in the building in a container and it permeated into the air.”

The incident sent five students and one staff member to the hospital. Eight other people were evaluated at the scene, but declined to go to the hospital for further evaluation.

The Sheriff says if a student is involved, charges could be filed. But he says oftentimes, no disciplinary action is taken against the student by the school. “We can charge ’em, but in many cases, the students are not suspended;  they’re not thrown out of school, and we have to deal with them later,” Jenkins says.

He pointed to one example. “Last fall, a student at Linganore attempted to stab another student in the stomach with knife. The back story is that people don’t know he was charged with making a threat to the school months before that. He should have been gone. He shouldn’t have been back in school,”: says Jenkins.

In some instances around the country, some students do these things after accepting a challenge on social media, or recording these incidents so they can be uploaded to social, media. . Last Thursday, a 14-year-old boy was responsible for bringing a potentially dangerous chemical (bleach)   to school to make mustard gas. This followed a challenge on Tik Tok, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Jenkins urges parents to monitor what their kids watch on social media. “A lot of times students will share these posts with these parents and we’ll get calls with complaints that originate from parents or school administrators,” he says., “Sometimes, students will step up and the do the right and report it to us.”

He says the Sheriff’s Office has the personnel to track down these posts. “We have people who specialize in this, who track these things, and can who identify exactly where these threats start and exactly who initially makes these posts,” Jenkins says.

“I’m a big proponent of getting these cell phones and devices out of schools,” he continues.

By Kevin McManus