Police are searching for a woman who discharged pepper spray during an argument at a daycare center in Beach Park, resulting in at least a dozen children being exposed to the spray.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded around 5:15 p.m. Monday to Lee’s Family Daycare and Learning Center, 38833 North Sheridan Road in Beach Park.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that two adult women got into an argument in the lobby of the daycare.
One of the women was upset because the child of the other woman allegedly scratched her child, Covelli said.
The two were involved in a verbal argument when one of them retrieved pepper spray and sprayed the other woman.
The woman who discharged the pepper spray fled the scene before police arrived.
The particles from the pepper spray got pushed through the building and ventilation system.
At least a dozen children were exposed to the spray. The Beach Park Fire Department and Zion Fire Rescue Department both responded to the scene.
Fire department radio traffic indicated that approximately 30 children may have been exposed, but Covelli said he could not confirm the exact number.
Paramedics evaluated the children but it is not believed that any of them required transport to the hospital.
Deputies are actively investigating the incident and more information is expected to be released Tuesday, Covelli said.
The owner of the business said in a statement that the incident occurred at closing hour.
“We are a daycare that operates with integrity. As childcare providers it is our number one priority to ensure the safety of our children and staff. No children were harmed,” the statement said.
“On behalf of the staff and children at Lee’s Family Daycare and Learning Center, we ask of our parents and we expect our parents to help us ensure the safety of all children and staff. Again, parents please respect the environment of other people’s children. You can trust the situation has been taken care of appropriately,” the statement added.