Cabrillo Elementary parents concerned after medical device found on campus

FREMONT (KTVU) -- A student at Cabrillo Elementary found a medical instrument on campus last month and school officials say it was used to pierce the skin of 12 other students, raising health concerns among some parents.

Some of the students' parents are consulting with their healthcare providers and the 12 students were checked for infections after a classmate found the diabetic lancet outside on May 26 and brought it inside the school.

A teacher confiscated the instrument, which is used to pierce the skin of diabetic patients to monitor their blood sugar level. But several days later the story developed into something much more threatening and concerning for parents.

"When this happened, I needed to go to school right away," said parent Anu Pama, whose child attends Cabrillo Elementary School.

The boy told school officials he poked at least one student with the device. Authorities said they are unsure who discarded the instrument or if was contaminated with a communicable disease.

"I know the boy who did it," said parent Diana Arrue. "I don't think he was aware of the danger he was putting himself or the other kids in."

Parents and the school nurse were notified, and the school launched an investigation.

Officials said they found that 12 students came into contact with the instrument and could potentially be at risk. Concern grew as the information spread on campus, prompting the school principal to notify all 450 parents about the incident.

"It's a little scary," parent Heidi Scott said. "Kids are gonna find something they think is fun to play with and they're going to play with it," said parent Heidi Scott.

Fremont Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Morris said staffers responded immediately once the scope of the problem was known.

"As soon as the school was aware someone had been poked they contacted the parents immediately," he said. They "really tried to make sure the families were informed."

Doctor Albert Shen, a pediatrician at O'Connor Hospital, said the risk of contamination from the lancet is low. He said a worst case scenario is that the students are at risk for Hepatitis B but "it's very unlikely."

The 12 students have been tested for infection and Shen said additional testing should be done in about 2-3 month to be sure none of them contracted a disease.

Officials said the student who found the lancet has been disciplined while some parents and officials say this episode provides an opportunity for more education about the risks of thing found close to school campus.

Said parent Diana Arrue: "Talk to my son and tell him to be more aware of the things he picks up."

Medical professionals and school officials say needles and other medical items such as lancets should be properly disposed of. If a suitable container isn't found, officials say the item can be placed in a clean glass jar before taken to a hospital for disposal.

By KTVU reporter Jesse Gary.

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