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Police: Pepper spray at prom was accident

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Groton — Town police announced Wednesday afternoon that an “unintentional discharge of pepper spray” by a Stonington High School student resulted in three students being sent to the hospital during the school’s senior prom at the Mystic Marriott on Saturday night.

Town police and firefighters responded to the hotel’s ballroom at 9:46 p.m. after receiving a report of a strange odor that was making people sick. The ballroom was evacuated and the prom ended early. Three students were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for respiratory distress and released. A number of other students reported symptoms but did not need to go to the hospital.

Town police said that after an extensive investigation, with the assistance of the Stonington Police Department, it was determined the incident was the result of an unintentional discharge of pepper spray by a juvenile. They did not identify the student who was responsible.

Town police said their investigation also found there was no intent to harm anyone at the prom and they do not anticipate filing criminal charges against the student.

In an email to parents Wednesday, Principal Mark Friese summarized the outcome of the investigation and added, "We would like to emphasize that our investigation indicated that there was no malicious intent on the student's part to harm anyone at the prom. Additionally, the student has received appropriate consequences for this offense. Finally, we want to share, once again, that all of our students are fine and we will evaluate our practices to prevent this type of incident from occurring again in the future."

j.wojtas@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the day of the announcements.

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