According to Maryann Dickar, chief of staff of Jersey City Public Schools, students in a classroom at PS 11 on Bergen Avenue noticed a smell around 9:45 a.m. and began coughing. The school was evacuated and fire and hazardous materials crews responded, along with police.
Dickar said the investigation is ongoing, but at this time authorities believe pepper spray was released in the classroom. Hazmat crews checked out the building, determined the odor was isolated to that single classroom, and, within an hour, said it was safe for students to return to the building.
One security guard was treated at the scene and released.
Parents were informed of the evacuation at the school, which serves children in kindergarten through eighth grade.