Montreal

Montreal students hospitalized after being exposed to bear spray in schoolyard

Four Montreal students from École Alphonse-Desjardins were taken to hospital after playing with a canister of bear spray they found in the schoolyard.

4 students transported to hospital, 22 kids in total evaluated by emergency services

Amélie Desjardins, age 10, had a coughing fit after being exposed to bear spray in the schoolyard. (Lauren McCullum/CBC)

Four Montreal elementary school students were taken to hospital Thursday morning after they found a bear spray canister in their school yard.

A student found the canister in the yard at the annex of École Alphonse-Desjardins, in the borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie.

The student pulled the pin and sprayed it, Urgences-santé spokesperson Stéphan Gascon said.

The four children who were taken to hospital had symptoms such as vomiting, coughing and burning eyes, Gascon said.

Amélie Desjardins was one of 18 other students who were evaluated before heading home with their parents.

The 10-year-old said she had a coughing fit when exposed to the gas.

"It itched in my throat and everywhere. Also in my lungs," she explained. "It was like we were going to die."

École Alphonse-Desjardins students were exposed to bear spray in Montreal Thursday morning. ( Lauren McCallum/CBC)

The school would not comment, but sent a letter home to parents saying everything is being done to ensure their children are safe. The school is also offering psychological support for students who want it.

Police not investigating

Montreal police say it was not a criminal incident and are not investigating.

But Jeanine Corbeil, a great-grandmother of one of the students, said police should be looking into the incident.

She is among those questioning why a child was able to access a can of bear spray and deploy it on school grounds.

If an adult allowed that to happen, she said, there should be consequences.

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