A student at a school in Roxbury is now forced to endure a painful series of treatments after being pricked by a needle during recess.
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.
Adding to their anxiety, they got another alert shortly before school hours about a possible stabbing, with a pool of blood found just steps from the front doors.
"It feels really unsafe for the children," Esther Guerrero said.
Guerrero's 7-year-old and 10-year-old children attend the school that sits in the cross hairs of the opioid epidemic, surrounded by homeless shelters and just blocks from an addiction facility.
An array of discarded needles sprinkled around the periphery pose a constant threat.
"It wasn’t a surprise that something like that happened," Guerrero said. "It’s terrifying, it’s probably going to happen again."
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.
“The people that do have power to do something about it should be concerned about it and do something," Guerrero said.
Guerrero and other community members shared the same reaction after learning about the student, who is still undergoing treatments after being pricked by a needle in the park behind the school last month.
"“I hope it doesn’t happen again, but I would assume it probably will," Russell Lamberti, the director of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, said. "We’re dealing with kids, they’re curious. When they see something, they want to touch it, feel it, see what it’s like."
The Boys and Girls Club of Boston also utilizes the park, and Lamberti conducts several sweeps a day, looking for needles, drugs, feces and other trash.
"I think we’re more fed up than anything," Lamberti said. "We know we have to deal with it."
Boston Public Schools told Boston 25 News that custodians at Orchard Gardens are also dealing with it daily, searching every morning for discarded needles.
School board member Sue Sullivan believes it's not enough.
"That’s not a great scenario," Sullivan said. "Someone not skilled in picking up needles, picking up needles and discarding them, it’s not safe. We should not have another student ever get pricked and have to go through those treatments."
In a written statement, a Boston Public Schools spokesman said the school provided "immediate assistance" to the student.
“Teachers and staff at the Orchard Gardens K-8 School provided immediate assistance to a student who came into contact with a needle that was found in the playground during recess," the statement read in part. "Students at Orchard Gardens are routinely taught to stay away from needles through lessons dubbed, ‘Stop, Turn, and Tell.'"
The district told Boston 25 News the city's mobile sharps unit also performs regular sweeps for needles at the school, and Sullivan and others said they'd like to see the unit do it every day, while also getting more assistance from the district and the city.
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