Hillsborough school security deputy resigns after accidentally pepper-spraying students at Lopez Elementary

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Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published Oct. 10, 2018

SEFFNER — A Hillsborough County school security deputy resigned Wednesday, a day after she accidentally pepper-sprayed students at Lopez Elementary.

Deputy Patricia Parker was speaking with four students "who were inquisitive about the gear she was wearing on her belt," according to a Sheriff's Office news release. Three other children were sitting nearby.

Parker took out her can of pepper spray and sprayed the chemical onto a napkin. Some over-spray came into contact with all seven of the children, causing "mild discomfort." The students saw the school nurse and did not require more medical aid.

"This was a teachable moment with some impressionable children who look up to us and our deputy failed to meet the most minimum of our expectations," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. "This was an extreme lack of judgement and by resigning this morning, she recognized that as well."

Parker, 56, was originally hired in May of 1990 and retired from service on May 1, 2015, according to the Sheriff's Office. She was re-hired in July on a temporary contract to work as a school security deputy.

Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.