About 14 people were overcome Monday after pepper spray was released in a school cafeteria in the Bronx.
Banana Kelly High School on Longwood Avenue in the Bronx was evacuated at 2 p.m. after students sprayed the substance.
Willis Cash, 16, said he felt the effects of the chemical before he learned what it was. He described feeling like he was "going to start dying," and said students were "coughing a lot."
Others in the school experienced shortness of breath, scratchy throats, burning eyes and vomiting.
Ten children and four adults were affected, according to officials on the scene. Nine of the students were taken to Lincoln Hospital for evaluation.
Banana Kelly and another high school that shares space in the same building were evacuated, sending close to 1,000 students into the street.
It was particularly frightening for one 11th-grader who thought she was having an asthma attack.
"We didn't know what to expect," she told NBC New York. "When we got outside, that's when they said, 'Oh, it's pepper spray.' But we was scared because they didn't announce what was going on yet."
"It's very dangerous," said Willis Cash, Sr., the parent of the 16-year-old. "Maybe the parents can get together and do something about it."
The Department of Education says the matter is under investigation. The student or students involved in the pepper-spray incident face disciplinary action, including suspension.