Education with a dash of pepper, Eastside Tech students learn from practical training.

Posted at 5:30 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 17:40:25-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — A place like the Eastside Technical Center prides itself on offering a curriculum that is both practical in its approach and in training.

Here, Fayette County High School students are offered coursework and hands-on experience in everything from the automotive industry to fire science, broadcasting, and police work. On Wednesday, the latter took center stage in the school’s parking lot.

“They are exposed to the OC spray, which is what we carry on the street, to teach them that they are stronger than adversities. And they still have to get the job done,” said the Dean of Administration, Lisa Radzinski.

Students who are concentrating on a career in law enforcement were required, as part of a final exam, to take a direct hit of pepper spray to the eyes at point-blank range. Then, rather than getting treatment for the immense burning sensation, they are required to do a few more exercises that consist of the kind of police work an officer might have to handle, despite having been hit with the spray.

“Nothing like real-world experience. I can tell you how it’s going to be, but until it happens, you really don’t know,” said Sergeant Duane Tyree of the Fayette County Detention Center.

Sgt. Tyree was here because his son, Jayden was one of the students who got peppered with that spray. He had to force his eyes open when we spoke with him roughly thirty minutes after he completed the task.

“At first you don’t feel anything. The second you open your eyes it all hits you,” Jayden Tyree explained.

He also said he still wants to pursue a career in law enforcement, like his dad, even after today’s exam. Others may use these programs to choose another path in life, and that’s okay too.

“Definitely some doubt,” said Izabella Johnson, before adding that today’s exercise gave her a greater appreciation for police officers.

“Students sign up for something that sounds interesting,” Radzinski said, before noting that sometimes a student might alter his/her career trajectory if they aren’t liking their chosen elective.

“We bring actual police officers in, or actual court officials in, and they (the students) find it’s not always what it looks like on TV,” she said.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel too good, either.