Students at Barberton High School in Ohio were willingly pepper sprayed as part of their Criminal Science Technology class, and their on-camera reactions to the painful experiment have since gone viral.
In the clip, 14 students were lined up against a building while a man pepper sprayed them one-by-one. He advised each student, “Stop resisting please comply.”
After being sprayed, the students began to scream in pain as onlookers could be heard laughing.
“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,” Barberton City Schools Superintendent Patricia Cleary told PEOPLE in a statement.
Cleary continued, “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. “
Today reported that the required permission slip advised that the experiment was “completely voluntary” and that students had the option between being “swabbed” or receiving “a quick ‘burst’ to the facial area with this chemical agent.”
The form also reportedly noted that students would suffer “irritation and a burning sensation” in their eyes and nasal area for up to an hour after being sprayed.
Students who participated reportedly received extra credit.
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The Barberton Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Photos shared last year by local newspaper, the Barberton Herald, show other students being pepper sprayed.
According to a 1994 fact sheet released by the National Institute of Justice, pepper spray – or OC agent – is made from cayenne and other varieties of peppers typically used in spicy foods.
“Contact with OC particles in a sprayed mist incapacitates subjects by inducing an almost immediate burning sensation of the skin, but more important, a burning and swelling of the eyes,” the report said.