Video of students getting voluntarily pepper sprayed goes viral

Barberton students pepper sprayed for extra credit

BARBERTON, OHIO - We don't know how much extra credit they received, but hopefully it was worth it.

The video of several students being pepper sprayed at Barberton High School has gained national attention.

The YouTube video shows Criminal Science Technology students lined up on a wall, being sprayed by an instructor one by one. Each student screaming and jumping up and down from the discomfort of the pepper spray in their faces.

Some find it hard to believe it was all voluntary and for the sake of learning.

"I was shocked honestly and I'm so glad I didn't have that opportunity in high school,” Havyn Stiffler, sibling of one of the students, said.

Parents had to sign waiver forms to give permission for their child to endure the agony, some said it was a good idea to teach kids what they’re going to experience before they sign up for a law enforcement job.

"If the kids wanted to do it and sign their rights about it, that's good with me," Wendy Carris, parent, said.
Not everyone was up for that kind of hands-on learning, even some spectators felt it was too much to watch.

"Once it like started to hit them, they were like really screaming,” Kimberly Yohey, spectator, said. “I didn't really want to watch it anymore after that.”

The impact of pepper spray is immediate, but the aftermath can last for 30 minutes or longer. Students who participated said they knew that, but they wanted the experience anyway.

"If you want to be a cop, you have to do it anyway, so why not get it over with?" Charles Wiley, student, said.

"We study everything before we do it, so we know how it's going to affect us,” Alexis Fischer, student, said. “We know that it could be really bad or it could be fun."

The program has been ongoing for years and students said pepper spray wasn’t even the worst experience they’ve had.

"Earlier in the year, we were also tased and that was not so bad,” Fischer said. “That was better than pepper spray.”

On Wednesday, the school issued a statement on the video:

"On Friday May 12, 2017 as part of the Criminal Science Technology Career Tech Education course at Barberton High School, students had an opportunity to voluntarily participate in an activity in which they would be subjected to a small amount of pepper spray for a brief period of time.  The activity was conducted by the class instructor, who is a former police chief, and an experienced professional.  Added supervision was provided by the school’s resource officer.  Students were required to have parental permission and consent in order to participate in the voluntary exercise.  The intent of the training is to help the students gain an industry recognized credential in the law and public safety course curriculum that is offered by the Ohio Department of Education."  

Thousands have viewed the video, which has made its way onto several sites, including TODAY, Mashable and Daily Mail.

Watch the video below:

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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