• Third Grader Suspended For Pricking Classmates With Diabetes Needle

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    PONTIAC — A Pontiac third-grader has been suspended from school for pricking the fingers of up to 13 children with a diabetes blood-sugar testing device.

    The 8-year-old and his parents have been told to appear at a building hearing today at Jefferson-Whittier Elementary, where the length of his suspension will be determined, said Darryl Cosby, chief of the district’s security force.

    The device, which is called a lancet, has a pointed piece of surgical steel encased in plastic and looks like a pen. It is used to puncture the skin on one’s finger to get a blood sample, which people with diabetes do regularly to determine their blood sugar.

    The youngster was in the third-grade classroom at the end of the school day, when he began pricking children in the finger with the device. The teacher caught the youth and he ended up in the office of the school, where Wendy Fitzpatrick is principal, Cosby said.

    A reader called The Oakland Press Tuesday to say she had learned a student at Jefferson-Whittier had pricked 13 students at the school Monday.

    The upset reader said, “We need to find out. That needle could have been picked up off the street.”

    Cosby said the incident is still under investigation and it is unclear at this time where the child got the device. His mother said there is no one with diabetes at his home but he does have a relative who has the illness. He appeared to have knowledge about how the device is used, judging by the way he was using it, Cosby acknowledged.

    “I talked to every child who was poked and the parents have already been notified,” Cosby said.

    “I am taking this seriously. It absolutely is a health concern. I packaged (the device) and I am requesting the police liaison to have it tested at the crime lab” to determine if there is anything that could be harmful to children, such as HIV, Cosby said.

    A parent or two said they are going to take their child to the doctor on their own, without waiting for the crime lab report, he said.

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