CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral parents are demanding answers after several children were stabbed with a sharp and possibly dirty device. They say the school district missed critical hours in warning them about a possible health hazard.
At least ten students at Caloosa Middle School were pricked by a classmate with a diabetic needle on Monday. It started on the bus ride to school, but carried on throughout the entire day. Now, parents want to know why the school didn't tell them about the problem until 6 o'clock that night.
"How did the school not know that there was a child running around with a needle?" Susan Gomes asked Tuesday.
Her 12-year-old grandson was stabbed during gym class, one of the last of at least ten students bullied by a student bearing a diabetic needle. But aside from the act, she's just as appalled with the school's response. She didn't know about the incident until hours later. Since then, she says the school's offered little information on what happened, and where to get treatment.
"Stonewalled. They just have nothing to say except take him, and we'll pay," Gomes said.
Phone calls to the school weren't returned, but the Lee County School District is standing behind Caloosa Middle. They claim the school followed proper protocol in alerting parents of the problem.
"We didn't find out about it until 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. There's only so many hands that can dial a phone, and there's only so fast the school can work," Lee County Schools Communications Director Joe Donzelli said Tuesday.
Even the Health Department was in the dark until this morning. They're now offering free screenings for the students stabbed. While the chances are slim for contracting any kind of infection from the hollow needle, kids are now being checked out for HIV and hepatitis. But many parents say the school's delay in contacting them now puts their student's health in jeopardy.
"So far what the hospital has essentially told us is that there's really nothing that they can do no matter what because it's too late, almost 24 hours post-incident, to give any kind of retro-active virus treatments or anything like that," parent Paul Marshall said as he took his child to get blood work done.
School Board officials tell WINK News the Caloosa Middle School student will likely face suspension or be thrown out of school for his actions. Cape Coral Police Department is also investigating the incident. There's no word yet on when and if they'll press charges.