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Finding discarded needles is a common occurrence on school premises.
In the national audit of Local Authority approaches to the management of drug litter, to be published in July in CIWM Journal, 34 of 429 Local Authorities were happy to advise the community that any find on school premises should be reported to the school staff. In most cases, the Local authority went further, to advise that school staff had been trained and equipped to deal with these incidents though the evidence for that was missing.
Of course, the greatest concern is of the delays incurred. Schools are a central point of the community and their grounds are often used outside normal school hours though not on every occasion will school staff be present to receive and deal with reports, and perhaps even less likely that they will be trained to do so. This is a serious health and safety risk to the school community and it is always a priority that there is a tried and tested policy, plus the necessary tools and contact information, to deal with any and all needle finds.
A recently updates sharps policy for Sparkenhoe Community Primary School provides a good example of how these policies should be structured.
Depressingly, the policy states that “Finding needles and drug paraphernalia seems to be a fairly normal occurrence for staff at Sparkenhoe“. Though the policy has some rough edges, it is a very good example of how to protect the children the school staff and others. I wonder how many other schools, in areas where their Local Authority have abrogated responsibility, are so well prepared?
Well, done, Sparkenhoe Community Primary School.