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A boy threw a mystery white powder into a school bus leaving a middle school Friday afternoon, forcing about 24 kids to evacuate, officials said.

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A boy threw a food additive powder into a school bus leaving a middle school Friday afternoon, forcing about 24 kids to evacuate while officials tried to determine what the powder was.

As the bus was leaving Butler Middle School in Cottonwood Heights about 3 p.m., the boy outside the bus threw the white powder into an open window, said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney.

An email sent from school officials to parents said several students reported symptoms including respiratory distress, stinging eyes and blurry vision.

The students on the bus were evacuated to the school auditorium. Parents were able to pick them up at the school entrance, according to the email.

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Paramedics and Unified firefighters responded and checked on the students. One child needed on-scene treatment, said Unified Fire Authority spokesman Keith Garner.

Police were also on scene assessing the incident. Officials originally believed the powder was protein based and possibly a type of pepper spray, Garner said.

Cottonwood Heights officers talked to the boy's parents, police said.

Late Friday evening, Cottonwood Heights Police Lt. Dan Bartlett said police had not taken the boy into custody.

Charges will be screened against the boy, Bartlett said, but he emphasized that the situation was an "overreaction to a junior high prank."