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Authorities speak to person of interest after mace sprayed at da Vinci

A school district spokeswoman said Friday that authorities were speaking with a person of interest in connection with an incident earlier in the day at Leonardo da Vinci High School, which was evacuated after a female student sprayed mace either in or near a second-floor bathroom in a hallway as students were changing classes.

A statement released by Buffalo Public Schools spokeswoman Elena Cala said authorities were reviewing surveillance footage from when the incident occurred.

According to Buffalo Schools Resource Chief Aaron Young, 28 students who felt effects from the spray were evaluated at the D’Youville College Center on Porter Avenue, across the street from the school, but none needed to be taken to a hospital.

Cala said a hazardous materials team deployed to da Vinci did not determine that a particularly dangerous substance had been emitted.

She said a team of engineers was scheduled to commence a cleanup of the site as staff and students headed home. Cala said the school has been declared safe and that classes will resume Monday.

Immediately following the incident, the school's roughly 400 students were sent to the D'Youville gym, where they were given lunch, school officials said.

Classes at da Vinci were canceled for the rest of the day, and Young said parents were contacted to pick up their children.

"Students are safe and comfortable," Cala said in an earlier statement.

The schools were working with the Buffalo hazardous materials team, the fire department and police to determine what happened and make sure the school was safe for students to return Monday, Cala said.

Later Friday, Cala said in a statement all Buffalo firefighters, police staff, D'Youville leadership, district administration, the district's security and safety team, staff, students, nurses, nursing directors, food staff and teachers were to be commended "for their extraordinary response."

Associate Superintendent for School Leadership Sabatino Cimato is the designated lead administrator for incidents that rise to the level of emergency or crisis response, Cala said.

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