NewsMissoula County


Students allowed back into Big Sky High School

Big Sky HS Evacuation 51622
Posted at 2:24 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 10:59:31-04

UPDATE: 2:37 p.m. - May 16, 2022

MISSOULA - Big Sky High School Principal Jennifer Courtney reports the "spray is concentrated to one specific area of the building that is closed off and being ventilated."

Courtney added the plan is to allow students back into the building shortly.

Students will be prevented from accessing that area of the building that is currently affected.

A Missoula County Public Schools spokesperson told MTN News it's believed to have been an accident release of pepper spray.

However, the incident is being investigated.

Big Sky High School sent the below follow up information via email:

Below is information regarding exposure to pepper spray:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Poison Control have published recommendations for how to protect yourself and what to do if exposed to pepper spray:

  • If exposed, you should remove your clothing and rapidly wash your entire body with large amounts of soap and water. 
  • Wash hands, under fingernails, etc. before touching contacts or eyes.
  • Clothing that would usually be pulled over the head should be cut off the body instead. 
  • Eyes should be irrigated for 10-15 minutes with room-temperature water. 
  • Contact lenses should be removed and discarded.
  • Eyeglasses should be removed and washed with soap and water. 
  • Jewelry should be removed and washed with soap and water or discarded. 
  • Avoid touching contaminated clothing by using rubber gloves, tongs, or sticks to place the clothing in the bag. The bag should be sealed and placed inside another plastic bag. The CDC recommends contacting your local health department for instructions on the appropriate disposal of the bagged clothing in your area or for information about possible methods to decontaminate it.
  • Nasal irritation and runny nose should improve after nasal irrigation with a saline solution. 
  • Throat irritation should improve after drinking cool fluids.
  •  A cough or minor respiratory irritation can improve with a steam treatment, such as a steamy shower. 
  • Anyone with serious effects such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, trouble swallowing, burns, or persistent eye pain should seek immediate medical evaluation.
  • Mild skin irritation - monitor at home.
  • May rinse skin or eyes with milk followed by water if irritation persists.
  • May rinse skin with vegetable oil if skin irritation persists.

Poison Control can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. Refer to Case # 6546086.

- information from Megan Mannering included in this report.

(first report: 2:24 p.m. - May 16, 2022)

Big Sky High School in Missoula has been evacuated after a substance was detected on Monday afternoon.

An email sent to parents from the school notes, that the substance is believed "to be pepper spray."

Students have been taken outside until it's determined that it is safe to reenter the building.

Read the full email below:

Big Sky Parents-

We have needed to evacuate our building due to some sort of substance in the building we believe to be pepper spray. Students are outside at this time while our Operations and Maintenance crew determines if we can safely bring students back into the building.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

Jennifer Courtney