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Bodie offers update on girls stuck with used needle outside Gibbs

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UPDATED, April 29: Two girls were stuck by a used, discarded syringe while playing outside the Gibbs School during an after-school program, and town leaders have responded.

A month after the incident, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie, provided an update in her monthly newsletter:

"Many of you are aware that there was a safety incident after school on the Gibbs playground this month. Two young girls who attend the Arlington Rec KidCare After School program were accidentally stuck by a hypodermic needle when they picked up a used, discarded syringe.

"Arlington Police responded quickly, treating the girls until firefighters and Armstrong Ambulance medics arrived. The syringe was properly discarded and held for testing, and the girls were taken to Winchester Hospital for test and treatment.

"I joined Interim Police Chief Julie Flaherty, Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorrno, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, APS Director of Nursing Susan Franchi and other town government support staff in subsequent discussions on response and action.

"Our schools immediately performed thorough inspections of the grounds and asked all teachers and staff to remind their students that they should always report unsafe items such as a needle or syringe to an adult and never pick up anything that may be dangerous. Safety sweeps of our playgrounds and parking lots are standard practice, and I assure you that Arlington Public Schools and our town government agencies take all incidents of this kind very seriously. The safety of our students and staff is of utmost concern."

March 26 report

Arlington police went to the Foster Street side of the sixth-grade school  at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a medical call. On arrival, officers spoke with the director of the Arlington Recreation KidCare program, who reported that girls, 5 and 7, were playing outside when, according to the girls, one of them picked up a syringe and was stuck in the hand by the needle. A second girl removed the needle from the first girl's hand, and she was stuck as well.

Police officers treated the girls until firefighters and Armstrong Ambulance medics arrived. The syringe was placed in a sharps container, and the girls were transported to Winchester Hospital for tests and treatment. Medical officials will conduct tests on the syringe to determine any further care that the girls may need.

Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie, Police Chief Julie Flaherty, Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, and support staff from town government plan to meet Wednesday morning to determine an appropriate response and plan of action.

"It is extremely concerning that a hypodermic needle would be so carelessly disposed of on the ground of a school, where children constantly gather, walk and play," Bodie said in a news release.

"We are instructing facilities staff at all of our buildings to conduct extensive and scheduled searches of the grounds and perimeters to ensure that if anything else is out there, that it is immediately and safely disposed of."

This news announcement was published Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

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