Video of students getting pepper sprayed at Ohio school leaves many scratching their heads

BARBERTON, OH (WOIO) - A video of students from Barberton High School getting pepper sprayed is being shared widely online, and many are asking questions about what happened.

In the video, one by one, each of the students took their turns getting pepper sprayed by their class instructor.

"Oh my gosh, this sucks!" you hear one of the students exclaim.

It wasn't a surprise, the students volunteered to do this. They're enrolled in Criminal Science Technology, a two-year program they started junior year. The man you see spraying them is a former police chief. They've been preparing for this moment all year but it still took some by surprise.

"It was the type of pain where I felt like I put my face in a bonfire," said Joshua Horvath, who's enrolled in the program.

Each student signed a waiver to participate and got written permission from their parents -- so they're not sure why this whole thing has turned into such a big deal.

"When it first got on me, it wasn't really burning but when the burning kicked in, I just started freaking out," Zach Steinhour.

Students do the exercise yearly. The goal of the training is to get an industry recognized credential for a law and public safety course.

"We try to do this for experience for later on in the future and I guess people are taking it negative, like cruel punishment like that," said Horvath.

Kathy Yohey, a grandmother who approved of the exercise, said it's good for the students.

"It teaches them, 'Hey, don't go do stupid stuff that you're going to get sprayed,'" she said.

The students said while they're appreciative of the hands-on experience they're not in any rush to repeat the assignment.

"Yeah, it was worth it. Um, but other than that, it -- never again," said Steinhour.

The effects of pepper spray last for 30 minutes to an hour. The students said no one was hurt. They told Cleveland 19 News they believe the video went viral because of social media.

Here's a statement from Barberton City School District:

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.

Watch the video below:

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