Needle stick incident devastates family
THE grandparents of a six-year-old boy believe they have not been taken seriously after he was allegedly pricked with a syringe while playing in the sand pit at Gatton State School.
Year 1 student Caleb Connelly said when he felt the needle prick he immediately reported it to a teacher who allegedly put the syringe in the bin.
The grandparents claim no further action was taken after the incident on Friday, August 10.
As a result, Caleb went three days without the recommended medical attention.
In a statement to the Gatton Star, a Department of Education spokesman said the school acted immediately to investigate the reported needle stick injury.
But Caleb's grandparents, who are his legal guardians, say they are still yet to be contacted.
Caleb's grandmother Robyn Connelly said she was only made aware of the incident when her grandson complained about his sore foot three days after the incident.
"If they had rung me up and told me I would've taken him to the doctor, but nobody told me," Mrs Connelly said.
When Mrs Connelly realised what had happened she immediately took Caleb to Ipswich Hospital, but doctors said it would be 18 months before it was known whether he had contracted anything.
Hepatitis B and C are the major concerns of needlestick injuries which is a reality the family will have to live with for the next 18 months as the six-year-old undergoes frequent tests.
The family contacted the school on Tuesday, August 14, to report the incident, but felt they had not been taken seriously.
"They did go round looking to see if they could find anything, but as far as I'm concerned they didn't do it good enough," Mrs Connelly said.
The Department of Education spokesman said the school continued to work with the family to provide support as necessary.
The issue was addressed at a P & C meeting last week where the Gatton Star and Mrs Connelly were in attendance.
When questioned by the family about the incident, Gatton State School principal Vincent Burke said he was under the impression the issue had been resolved.
"You'll become aware through the next newsletter and processes. I thought we dealt with this the other day when we did meet, but very happy to keep meeting with you to resolve any issues you have," Mr Burke said at the meeting.
Mrs Connelly had previously met with the school, but said she was unsatisfied with the meeting and said the family had received no support.
"There's been no contact to see how my grandson is and he hasn't been at school for a week," Mrs Connelly said.
"It's disgusting the way they've treated him."
The incident has taken a significant toll on the family, with Mrs Connelly's husband taken to Gatton Hospital with symptoms of a heart attack.
Caleb, along with his two siblings and two cousins, has since changed schools, but Mrs Connelly said she wanted to ensure the safety of other children at the school.
"I would just like them to straighten things out otherwise other kids are going to get hurt," she said.
Gatton Police Sergeant Tony Harm said the police were not aware of the incident but police patrols would be increased to prevent something happening again.
"We take things like this very seriously and we will continue to do so," Sgt Harm said.
"The school can be a thoroughfare for people cutting through to Yates St. We have prosecuted people and we will continue to do that."
The Department of Education spokesman said parents could be reassured students were provided with a range of health and safety information at school on a regular basis, a statement the Connelly family hopes is true.