The school has confirmed one lancet incident and has addressed rumors of a second incident on campus at the school’s back to school dance.
Chesterfield County School’s Public Information Officer Ken Buck said that the first lancet incident happened on the school’s playground.
“A student brought a lancet to school,” Buck said. “It is the pen portion of a diabetes testing kit that is used to check blood sugar. A student was playing on the playground with it and pricked a couple of students.”
Buck said that the sticks did not break the skin, but at least one parent took their child to their personal physician for blood testing after the child reported the incident to their parent.
Buck said that Cheraw Intermediate Principal Scott Eddins handled the investigation and dealt with the matter as a school disciplinary matter. The student was disciplined according to Buck, but he could not disclose what discipline had been delivered to the student.
The school district also had to quell rumors of a second lancet incident at the school’s back to school dance on Sept. 10.
A memo sent out to parents by Buck said that after rumors came out about another student being struck by a lancet, the school again investigated and school administrators determined that there was no evidence of any student actually seeing or being stuck by a lancet.
An announcement was made at the dance concerning the incident to help calm the mood, but the dance still ended earlier than was intentionally planned because many students were upset.
Eddins said in the memo that the isolated incident was resolved and that it poses no future threat to the safety of Cheraw Intermediate students.
“Our first concern is and always will be the safety and well being of our students,” Eddins said. “We will continue to ensure the safety of all our students while also striving to provide them with the best educational opportunities possible.”
Buck said that because the incident was isolated, the school district did not report the lancet incident to the Chesterfield County Public Health Department.
“I am not aware of us reporting the incident to the health department,” Buck said. “I am not aware that we have a policy for it. You might run into that if there is a flu or something, but not with one or two isolated incidents on campus.”
The South Carolina School Boards Association upholds a policy to prevent disease transmission and promote a healthy education and social environment in the district, but there is no widespread policy available for an incident involving a lancet.
The Prevention of Disease and Infection Transmission Policy states that the school district will take action with respect to students or employees found to have a communicable disease, as long as the actions are consistent with the right afforded individuals under state and federal law.
Because the school found that no one was infected with a communicable disease, the school did not report the incident, even though Buck reported that multiple students were stuck.
Because of the way lancets are used, the needle does not draw blood from a person stuck with it, lessening the chance of disease transfer. Unlike a hypodermic needle, blood is not removed by the lancet and passed on to others using it.
Officials at the Chesterfield County Public Health Department confirmed that the incident was not reported.
Because a lancet has a sharp point used for penetrating skin, some parents and faculty could consider the lancet a weapon.
The Chesterfield County School District student discipline handbook outlines severe student offenses and dictates what is and what is not considered a weapon.
The handbook states in offense 37 and offense 38 that possessing, brandishing, pointing or discharging a firearm, pellet gun, or any other type of projectile type weapon or possession or use of a knife, brass knuckles or any other object that violates state or federal law can result in an automatic suspension or expulsion.
Buck said that the school district was not ready to label a lancet as a weapon.
“I’m not sure about a lancet being a weapon,” Buck said. “It could be a weapon, but depends on intent of use. We don’t want to call it a weapon because a student may need it for diabetes testing.”
The school district does have a policy for extenuating, mitigating or aggravating circumstances in particular cases of misconduct.
This policy allowed the Superintendent to consider circumstances when handing down punishments, which may apply to this case.
For now, Buck calls the matter closed.
“The student was disciplined by the principal and that the end of the matter,” Buck said. “This appears to be blown over, the school has had no further calls about the (dance) incident.”