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Child finds discarded syringe at Toronto school: police

WATCH ABOVE: It's only a week into the school year and already there have been two separate incidents where students have come into contact with discarded syringes in playgrounds. Morganne Campbell has more

Toronto police say they want the public to be aware of syringes discovered at an elementary school near Ossington Avenue and Harbord Street on Monday morning.

Police said a child found a discarded syringe in the playground area at the back of Montrose Junior Public School at about 8:45 a.m.

Investigators said the child picked up the syringe “unaware of the potential risks” and told a teacher.

The teacher then located another syringe in the same area, police said.

Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird told Global News that staff attempt to walk around schools and playgrounds as much as possible to search for inappropriate things, like the syringe.

READ MORE: 3 children taken to hospital after picking up syringes near Toronto school

“Obviously, it’s hard to do a grid search or an entire school property, that’s just not possible. But in general, they’ll walk around the building, go to the playgrounds, look around to see if they can spot something and then address it,” he said.

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“In an age appropriate way we talk to kids about what to do if you find something sharp or something that concerns you or something that is out of place,” Bird continued.

“Talk to a teacher. Talk to an adult. We want to know about it.”

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Police said the child was not poked or injured and that the needles were picked up and discarded appropriately.

“Parents are reminded to have a conversation with their children about the potential health and safety hazards of discarded syringes,” police said in a news release.

“Children should be advised not to touch syringes and to notify an adult immediately. Adults should exercise caution if they decide to remove the syringe, and call 311 to request a pickup.”

This comes less than a week after three young children were taken to hospital for picking up and being poked by syringes near a school in the Roncesvalles area.

Amy Slater, whose daughter was affected last week, told Global News this isn’t a one-off situation anymore.

“I think that we have a public health issue and one of the things we can do is start to talk to kids and warn kids about the dangerous of this,” she said.​

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Slater said she won’t know for nearly two months if her daughter is in the clear but said she is taking medications for potential exposure. She said she’s been losing sleep ever since the incident.

Rita Shanhin, associate medical officer of health, told Global News people have 72 hours to seek medical treatment following exposure. However, she cited a study out of Montreal that studied just under 300 kids who were exposed to needle “pricks” and found that none of them contract Hepatitis C or HIV.

“Again, while its very anxiety provoking for parents whose child is involved, it’s reassuring to know that the risks are so so low,” she said.

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