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Girl arrested for chemical attack at Darlington school


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A 14-year-old schoolgirl has been arrested after attacking her male classmate with a cocktail of chemicals during a science lesson.   

The boy was rushed to hospital after an argument at the school in Darlington, County Durham, resulted in a hazardous mix of iodine, chlorine and bromine being splashed in his face.

Paramedics and police were scrambled to the teenagers’ secondary school on January 23 after the Year 9 pupil was targeted by the girl during a chemistry experiment.   

A boy, 14, was rushed to hospital after an argument at Darlington’s Longfield Academy (pictured), County Durham, resulted in a hazardous mix of iodine, chlorine and bromine being splashed in his face on January 23 

Teachers at Darlington’s Longfield Academy desperately rushed to pour water on the boy’s face before he was seen by first-aiders.

He was treated by them before being taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital.  

Officers from Durham Constabulary arrested the girl on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after responding to the call from the ambulance service.

Chlorine can be hazardous in large enough quantities. It is a type of halogen used to purify drinking water and in swimming pools.

If someone is exposed to a significant amount of the chemical it can cause blurred vision, burning pains, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting.

Iodine and bromine are also stable halogens and can cause irritation if poured on skin.

Longfield Academy’s head, Nick Lindsay, said the teenager was also facing school disciplinary procedures as he praised his staff for responding swiftly to the shocking incident.

Mr Lindsay stressed that the science lesson had been subject to a full risk assessment and that all procedures had been correctly followed.

He said that the boy was splashed in the face with a ‘non-corrosive, standard solution of iodine, bromine and chlorine used in Key Stage 4 science experiments nationwide’ but had suffered no lasting harm as a result of the attack.

The teenage boy is understood to have returned to the school the next day, having been released from hospital shortly after the incident.

Parents have since been reassured about school safety procedures and the boy’s mother has penned a note to staff thanking them for their swift actions.

Paramedics and police were scrambled to the teenagers' secondary school, where paramedics took the victim to hospital and officers arrested the girl, 14, on suspicion of actual bodily harm. File image used 

Paramedics and police were scrambled to the teenagers’ secondary school, where paramedics took the victim to hospital and officers arrested the girl, 14, on suspicion of actual bodily harm. File image used 

Mr Lindsay said: ‘This was clearly an unfortunate and worrying incident but we wish to make it absolutely clear that appropriate procedures and guidelines were followed every step of the way.

‘The solution being used in the science experiment was diluted to a standard level recommended for schools across the country, and there is no lasting harm to the pupil concerned.

‘Staff reacted quickly and appropriately and we have received an email from the boy’s mother, thanking us for what she described as the ‘professional, thorough and caring’ way it was dealt with.’

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary confirmed officers had attended the school following reports of a student having had ‘low concentrate chemicals used in the classroom’ splashed in his face.

They said: ‘A 14-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of ABH and has been released under investigation.’

A spokesman for Victim Support added the boy could be at risk of being psychologically damaged by the attack.

Alex Mayes said: ‘Chemical attacks can have a devastating and often long-term impact on victims, not only physically but also psychologically.’ 

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