Sunday, February 23, 2003

Students share same needle in science experiment



The Associated Press

NORWALK, Ohio - Eleven elementary school students have been advised to get screened for blood transmitted diseases such as hepatitis and HIV after they shared the same needle in a science experiment.

The fifth-graders at St. Paul's Elementary were pricked with the same needle last week so they could see a specimen of their blood under a microscope, principal Steve Schaumm said.

The children lined up and teacher Kathy Zanotti began pricking each child's finger with a needle, Schaumm said. After each finger was poked, Zanotti stuck the needle in alcohol and wiped it off and stuck the next student in the line.

Schaumm said he isn't comfortable that the method of disinfecting the needle was thorough enough to prevent health problems.

"The safety of our children that are involved with this is of paramount importance to us," he said. "We're not medical doctors. Something may have gone wrong here, and we're concerned about the safety of our kids."

The school contacted the parents of the 11 students and is paying for the testing and vaccines, Schaumm said.

Zanotti, a 25-year teaching veteran, remains at the school but was disciplined. Schaumm declined to comment on her discipline.

Norwalk is about 50 miles west of Cleveland.




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