File photo: Denise Civiletti

Update- Sept.13: The student who was taken into police custody following the pepper spray incident at the high school Friday was arrested on charges of Assault in the Third Degree and Unlawfully Possessing a Noxious Material, according a the Riverhead Police Department Press Report. No further information has been made available by police.

Original story, posted Sept. 8:

A Riverhead High School student is in police custody this morning after using pepper spray on another student, according to the school district.

An altercation took place between two students, resulting in one student using pepper spray on the other, Superintendent Augustine Tornatore wrote in a letter to the community today. The incident is being investigated by Riverhead Town Police and the student who used the pepper spray was taken into police custody, Tornatore said.

The spray impacted the air quality in the hallway and affected other students and security guards, Tornatore said. Everyone who was affected received medical treatment and the hallway where the altercation took place has been cleaned of any pepper spray residue, Tornatore said. The school day was not interrupted and classes at the high school will continue as usual, Tornatore said.

“The District prioritizes safety and security, and altercations of this nature will not be tolerated,” Tornatore wrote in the letter. “We will continue to work alongside the Riverhead Police Department throughout the investigation, and the two students in the altercation will face full disciplinary action in accordance with Riverhead High School’s code of conduct.”

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: