BOSTON - Boston Police are stepping up efforts to keep school children safe after Roxbury student was pricked by a needle during recess.
The City of Boston is ramping up their response to better protect students and staff after Boston 25 News reported on the story last week.
Orchard Gardens School Board member Sue Sullivan told us she has received confirmation that the city's mobile sharps unit will now be coming out to the nearby park to search for needles before kids get to school every morning.
"This is all it took," said Sue Sullivan, a school board member at Orchard Gardens. "Sometimes it just takes people at a meeting to speak up, or it takes a news story."
Parents and students at the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury say their worst fears came true when they got an alert about a young boy being poked by the needle during recess in October.
The incident comes less than a year after students and teachers at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School passionately protested about the abundance of discarded needles they are forced to deal with and dodge on a daily basis.
“I’ve had a lot of people who have reached out and said, 'I didn’t realize the magnitude of the issues,'" said Sullivan. “It didn’t require a meeting, it didn’t require a series of meetings, it just requires a couple of people coming together and saying, 'Hey, we can fix this.'"
The team effort, not only at Orchard Gardens but at nearby Mason Pilot Elementary School, less than one mile away, pushed for major change concerning the students' safety.
“When they sweep they come in and they clean the whole area," said Sullivan. "It should make a huge difference because now the custodians should never be picking up the needles and discarding them."
A program here at Orchard Gardens, “Stop Turn and Tell”, educates students on what to do if they encounter a needle - there is even a display posted inside the school as a constant reminder.
The school is located just blocks from one of the area's busiest addiction treatment programs. Staff and parents say the negative impact spilling into their community seems to be getting worse.
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