Parents angry after needle-sticking incident at Philadelphia elementary school

Annie McCormick Image
Thursday, December 10, 2015
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Philadelphia School District officials say they are investigating after a 7-year-old student brought hypodermic needles into her classroom.

SPRING GARDEN (WPVI) -- Action News found parental outrage Thursday at a Philadelphia elementary school, two days after a second-grader brought hypodermic needles to school with her.

Officials say five students were stuck with the needles when the 7-year-old girl brought them to school in the city's Spring Garden section.

All but one of the students were back at school the following day.

But parents dropping their children off at George Meade Elementary School Thursday morning were upset.

Some said they weren't properly informed.

"We didn't know about it until this morning," said parent Stacey Smith, adding she never got a letter from the school.

"To see it on the news is a shock," said parent Hakim Bryant.

Asa Carey of North Philadelphia said he found out from his little sister who was in the classroom during the incident, but was unharmed.

"My little sister was telling me about the little girl was running and chasing the little kids, and they were screaming and telling the teacher to come here she has a needle," said Carey.

Wednesday night one boy told Action News the girl with the needles chased the students like she was playing a game.

"Whoever's kid it is, they should've checked their book bags before they came in," said parent Lashonda Peterson.

Peterson's daughter, one of the five injured, was stuck in the back. The 8-year-old girl now has to get tested regularly to see if she contracted anything.

"Now I have to worry about if the needle was clean or if the needle was dirty," she said. "I hope it was clean!"

Asked if the syringes contained anything, Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard responded, "We don't know that. We do know they came from the child's home."

Philadelphia police are investigating the case and are interviewing everyone involved, including parents.

The school district says it immediately called the parents of the students who were injured, and called parents of students in the vicinity of the incident the next day.

School officials say they also sent letters home with the children.

"The principal is doing everything she can, but she's just one person," said parent Lekya Davis. "My point is, a parent has to do a job, too."

Counselors are on hand for all students at the school, including the little girl who brought the needles. She is too young to face any charges.

Detectives are investigating if anyone gave her the needles or if there was any negligence that led to her bringing them to school.