Officials from the Maven Lane Childcare facility are frustrated and angered after children were exposed to a stash of “narcotic paraphernalia” that had been hidden on one of the gated and locked playgrounds behind the building.
In a letter sent out to parents Monday, Executive Director Hollie Henderson expressed her “deep frustration and regret” about the situation.
“Every morning, prior to opening, all outdoor play areas and facility grounds are thoroughly inspected by our facility,” said Henderson.
“We check every playground, parking lot and door-well.”
The Maven Lane staff declined an on-camera interview, but did tell Global News they have to clean up their playgrounds almost on the daily.
Neighbour Danielle St-Onge says the discovery of needles and other paraphernalia is actually a daily occurrence, but said complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
“It’s every night I see drug people coming through here. They are dealing right on the street here and we chase them out, and it’s ongoing — ongoing,” said St-Onge.
According to facility staff, this is the first time children have been hurt. They said this has now become a learning opportunity, educating all their children with steps that need to be taken if they come across something like this again.
Interior Health commends the organization for what they have done and are doing to keep their students safe. They also want to share some important steps that need to be taken in case anyone comes into contact with any sort of drug paraphernalia.
“So the first thing is prevention, so before anything like this happens we need to make sure that we are up to date on our vaccinations, specifically in this case. It’s really important to have protection from Hep B and tetanus,” said Interior Health Medical Officer Dr. Carol Fenton.
“If a needle stick occurs it’s really important to wash with soap and water and then contact your doctor or visit your local emergency department for follow-up care.”
This incident is now the subject of a police investigation. While it’s unclear what, if anything, some of the children were exposed to, parents were told to wait for further testing to be completed.
Staff said they will now be expanding their security measures and have contacted the City Of Vernon, RCMP and the local shelter in hopes additional safety measures can be implemented.