Dirty drug needle concern prompts school campaign




Posted on February 21, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 6:41 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Concern over dirty drug needles found on Olympia’s Madison Elementary campus has prompted the school to take action.

While the school was closed for construction this fall, parents say it became a hangout for the homeless with the area littered with dirty drug needles.

“You have to be concerned, I’ve got three little kids,” said Nathan Allan, a parent.

Allan along with other parents from the group “Concerned Olympians” brought the issue to the attention of Principal Domenico Spatola-Knoll, who took swift action. To raise awareness and protect students, the school created the “Stop! Don’t Touch! Get an Adult!”Campaign.

“Without safety, we really can’t do our job educating kids,” he said.

Through the help of the Thurston County Health Department, Spatola-Knoll and all staff members received training on how to spot and discard unsafe materials. Custodians also do an extensive sweep of the campus throughout the day.

“It’s our job to help them understand that things on the ground might be dangerous, might be sharp, help them recognize things they shouldn’t touch,” said Spatola-Knoll.

Allan says what could carry HIV or Hepatitis may look like treasure to young kids.

“It’s different. You don’t see a needle every day,” said Allan.

The school has now placed a needle collection bin in the nurse’s office and hung posters addressing the issue all over campus.

In his community, Allan says it’s a lesson kids need to learn.

“We live in a great neighborhood; the reality is not everyone is a good person. It gives you peace of mind; you want to know that you’re sending your kid to a safe place,” said Allan.

An exact number of how many items have been picked up at Madison Elementary was not available.