Students at Paramount High School were pepper-sprayed by deputies who were breaking up a fight over a nude photo of a student that was circulated on social media, officials said Friday.
The fight was reported just before 1 p.m. at the cafeteria of the high school, located at 14429 Downey Ave. in the city of Paramount, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Responding deputies found two students fighting. The deputies broke up the fight and told students who were watching to stand back, a sheriff’s watch commander told KTLA.
Two students were pepper-sprayed, but no other injuries were reported, the commander said.
In an email sent to parents, Paramount Unified School District Superintendent Ruth Perez said the fight was over a nude photo of a student being circulated over social media.
She said about 20 to 30 students were involved in the fight and that food was thrown before deputies arrived and pepper-sprayed “some students.”
But parents said they suspected the tensions were racially motivated.
Another large fight at the campus earlier in the year was blamed on racial remarks.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the scene, but no one was transported to the hospital. Those affected were treated by the school nurse, the superintendent said in the email.
School officials said the campus was not on lockdown, but several parents and a student called KTLA indicating that it was.
A worker at the school told KTLA that her son goes to the school and was that he was pepper-sprayed. She said many students were hit by the chemical agent. It remains unclear exactly how many students were affected by the pepper spray.
She said she was told students would be dismissed from the school beginning at 2:45 p.m.
No further details about the incident have been released.
At least two sheriff’s patrol vehicles and several deputies remained at the school at 3:20 p.m., as students appeared to be leaving the campus, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
The superintendent said in the email to parents that the students involved face “disciplinary consequences.”
“Our district does not tolerate this type of misbehavior and is committed to keeping our students safe,” the email read.
Editor’s note: A source’s name has been removed from this story. It was initially included due to a newsroom communication error.
KTLA’s Nancy Fontan and Sareen Habeshian contributed to this story.