JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local parents are outraged, saying a resource officer pepper-sprayed their 13-year-old for a fight at his middle school.
“I was livid, because at the end of the day, he’s 13 years old,” said Kissie Kelly, the boy’s mother.
Kelly said her son, Daerion, was involved in a fight near the bus ramp at Highlands Middle School March 21, when the officer intervened and sprayed him.
“When I was on the ground, the cop came and started spraying me in the face with mace,” Daerion said.
Kelly took him to the emergency room at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Discharge paperwork states Daerion suffered a first-degree burn to the cheek.
“It burnt a lot,” he said.
Action News Jax asked Duval County Public Schools for the report on the incident, but were told those records are exempt due to an "active investigation."
We followed up, asking if they could confirm the officer used pepper spray on Daerion, and DCPS said in part, “We do not discuss student disciplinary incidents in the media.”
They added, “OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray is one of the tools they have at their disposal to minimize potential injury to students, officers, and others.”
But these parents weren’t satisfied with the explanation and said they will be filing complaints.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he has justice for this,” Kelly said. “Everything.”
Action News Jax asked other area school districts for their policies.
St. Johns, Nassau and Baker counties all reported no previous incidents, with a Baker County representative stating officers, “Would not use pepper spray on students.”
Putnam County said it has had incidents in the past, and resource officers, “Are required to have at least two of the three less than lethal [options] on their person.”
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