Dozens of needles found at Vernon elementary school - InfoNews

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Dozens of needles found at Vernon elementary school

FILE PHOTO: This file photo shows a discarded needle and packaging.
April 07, 2017 - 4:28 PM

VERNON - More than 50 discarded needles were found on the grounds of a Vernon elementary school this morning, prompting a quick response from school officials and the RCMP.

The needles were found outside of Harwood Elementary today, April 7. In a letter home to parents provided to by the school, principal Lance Johnson says staff scoured the entire grounds, parking lot entrances, parking lot and back alley prior to 8 a.m.

“We kept students off of the grass and playground equipment area and only let them stay on the asphalt until the morning bell at 8:25 a.m. to ensure their safety,” Johnson says in the letter. “We kept students in at recess as well as I wanted our school district maintenance staff to have enough time to complete a more thorough check of the entire school property, rake up the leaves so we can see underneath them and dig up all of the gravel in the playground equipment area.”

Police attended Friday morning, and will do their best to increase patrols in the area, Johnson says.

Teachers also spoke with students about needle safety and Doug Rogers, the district substance abuse and prevention counsellor, will be visiting all classes next week.

Maintenance staff finished checking the grounds before lunch. Due to the rain, students stayed inside at lunch but some classrooms went outside later in the day after the rain stopped and the grounds were cleared.

“I would like to thank our staff, the many parents that helped this morning and our school district maintenance department for all of their help this morning. It is reassuring to know that there is a team ready to react and help when there is a student safety concern. I am very proud of our school and our school community. It’s times like this when the character of a community steps forward and we saw that today.”

When contacted directly for further information, Johnson declined to comment and directed inquiries to the district superintendent. Supt. Joe Rogers was not immediately available by phone. 

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