Jack Robey Jr. High School students showing up for band practice on Good Friday are still thinking about their rough Thursday.
"We still don't know why he sprayed the mace, but everybody in the hall way suffered," Adria Williams said.
Walking into the building after lunch, students were met with a wall of pepper spray from a resource officer's holster.
"It came all straight down the hall, and blew straight into my face," she said. "I choked and coughed. I immediately had to run into the bathroom. When I got there, everyone was coughing or throwing up. We didn't know what was going on."
"She said her eyes were burning, and I remember asking her did she get a chance to rinse her eyes," her mother Sandra said. "Or if she was able to get some sort of treatment, but no she was basically just suffering with it."
"How did that make you feel?" we asked.
"Very helpless. I was at a doctor's appointment in Little Rock at UAMS," she said. "So all I could do was be there with her on the phone."
"I was choking, my chest was hurting real bad and I couldn't breathe," said Tia Adair. "It hurt, it was scary. And I had to go to the hospital so they could open my lungs."
At least three kids were taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center with respiratory problems and symptoms from the spray. Active ingredients in pepper spray, on a heat scale, are about 62 times the strength of jalapeno peppers.
"I heard the officer tell the assistant principal he sprayed it on the floor, but I saw his hand go up in the air," Tarissa Correl said. "The resource officer, I have heard him threaten the kids to use the spray and taze them. So I don't know if he was joking. But the mace he had, it required flipping up the top and pressing the button below. There's no way it was accident, I don't care what he says."
Correll volunteers at the school, and on Thursday she was working the concession stand. As she walked down the hall during lunch, she also felt the effects of the wall of pepper spray.
"All of a sudden, I had a hard time breathing and felt like I was going to vomit," she said.
Her 13-year-old daughter Valencia suffered a severe allergic reaction and had to be hospitalized for several hours.
"When I saw her she was hyperventilating and her face had swollen really bad," Correll said. "The nurse, she's an RN, told me I didn't have much time and to get her to the hospital immediately. If I wouldn't have been there my child could have died."
Pine Bluff Police say an internal investigation is being conducted, but they would make no further comment. Department policy does instruct avoid using pepper spray where it will affect innocent bystanders and in small, confined spaces.
But parents still want answers why the Resource Officer felt the use of force was justified.
"All the children had extended lunch and they were making their way back to class kind of slowly. But it was normal, nothing was different," Correll said.
"There would have to be a prison riot with adults, these are kids. You should be able to have a handle on kids," Williams added.
Parents are also frustrated with the lack of notification from the school on the incident. Several parents we spoke with in the parking lot hadn't heard of the incident until they read it in the paper this morning or when we asked them about it.
"I didn't receive a call from the school when it happened. There's been no communication on the aftermath or the follow up. I've heard absolutely nothing from the school," Williams said. "Nothing."
"I think parents need to know when these things go on," Correll said. "We really need to know."
We called Pine Bluff Superintendent Jerry Payne at home and work, he has yet to return our phone calls requesting a comment.
We are also awaiting the Pine Bluff Police Department's response to a Freedom of Information Act request of the Resource Officer's use of force report, which he is required to file by department policy, to explain why he would use the pepper spray in the first place.
We'll provide you with updates when they become available.