VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Vancouver school officials are reviewing their protocols after a 6-year-old student at Martin Luther King Elementary found a syringe in a health room when he was left alone.
The boy’s mother, Ashley Gibson, told KOIN 6 News her son was in the nurse’s office taking his medication, as she said he does everyday at noon. She said he was left alone and opened up a pouch that contained fresh syringes to be used for insulin.
“After taking his medication and the needle, he went back to his classroom, then went to a bathroom outside his class and he was in there for a while,” Gibson said. “He took the cap off and when he took the cap off, the needle broke off and fell in the toilet.”
When the staff realized a syringe was missing, they came to his class and asked the boy if he had it. The syringe was taken away from him at that time, Gibson said.
The boy was not hurt.
The school called her at 12:48 p.m., she said, and she immediately went and picked him up.
“I was mad. I was extremely mad,” she said. “Because I send my kid to school knowing he’s going to be safe, thinking he’s going to be safe. And he gets ahold of a needle.”
She wants needles and pills locked up and for students in the nurse’s office to never be left alone.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Vancouver Public Schools spokesperson Pat Mattison said the nurse stepped away from the health room for a few minutes to help another student.
“A student came into the school office and waited for the office clerk. While waiting, the student went into the health room without permission and took the syringe from the health room,” Mattison said.
The statement continued: “Safety of students is our highest priority. As a result of this incident, the district is reviewing its nursing and health room procedures and protocol. It is district procedure to keep all medications in a locked cabinet. This procedure will be reviewed with all nursing staff. Further review of this incident will examine all current safety measures and protocols regarding school health rooms and administration of medication to students.”
Gibson kept him home from school on Friday and said she will not send her son back to the school “until something is done and corrective action is taken. They need to be held accountable.”
KOIN 6 News reporter Elissa Harrington contributed to this report.