Marie Jean Baptiste, in white, wipes the face of her...

Marie Jean Baptiste, in white, wipes the face of her daughter Marina as Nassau Police and Uniondale firefighters respond to Northern Parkway Elementary School in Uniondale for a pepper spray incident which sent 20 kids and 4 adults to the hospital. (Oct. 23, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Twenty students and four faculty members were taken to a hospital Wednesday for eye and throat irritation after a student at a Uniondale elementary school dispensed pepper spray in a school hallway, Nassau County police said.

A Nassau police spokeswoman said a 10-year-old student who released the peppery substance in a basement hallway at Northern Parkway Elementary School some time around 11:10 a.m. was among the students transported for treatment.

It's not clear whether the incident was accidental.

"The school was immediately evacuated, and school officials immediately contacted the Nassau County Police Department, local volunteer fire department and HAZMAT units to the school" following the incident, Uniondale Union Free School District Superintendent William Lloyd said in a statement.

Everyone treated at the hospital was released, a school spokeswoman said.

"Students were allowed back into the school building once the fire department and HAZMAT [team] inspected the entire school building and deemed the air quality safe," Lloyd said. The district and police are investigating, he said.

The school defines "pepper spray or other noxious spray" as a weapon, per federal law.

The school conduct code says such a spray should be confiscated, with the student's parents notified and "appropriate disciplinary sanction if warranted," including possible referral for prosecution.With Gary Dymski

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