Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Salina science teacher suspended after students use same lancet

September 20, 2006

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— A high school science teacher has been suspended for allowing students to reuse the same instrument to draw blood from their fingers as part of a class project, district officials said Tuesday.

Carol Pitts, spokeswoman for the Salina school district, said students in two science classes at Salina High School South were allowed to use the same lancet, or small pin, to prick their fingers for an experiment Monday. She said about 50 students might have been involved.

The science teacher - who was not identified Tuesday - was suspended with pay while the incident was investigated, Pitts said.

Pitts said there was additional concern that some of the students might have come in contact with blood when they washed the science experiment slides. She said it was unclear what experiment the classes were doing, but they may have been checking blood glucose levels.

The high school has about 1,100 students. The students involved were juniors and seniors.

She said the district was taking steps to ensure that the students were tested for diseases such as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and hepatitis, both of which can be spread by using a shared instrument to draw blood. The district was working with the Salina/Saline County Health Department to establish testing procedures for the students.

"Our recommendation is that the kids get tested now as a baseline for HIV and Hepatitis B and C and have it repeated two or three times," said Yvonne Gibbons, director of the health department. But she said there likely was little cause for concern.

"This is minimal risk," Gibbons said. "I don't think there is any reason to panic."

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