Teacher Fired After Botched Science Experiment
Nov. 20 - KGO (KGO) -- Nearly two dozen students at a middle school in Redwood City will have to undergo blood tests Tuesday for Hepatitis and the AIDS virus because of a science experiment that should never have taken place.
The health department is meeting with worried parents Monday night.
A substitute teacher let kids use the same needle to pierce their fingers to draw blood to look at it under a microscope. They should have swabbed their mouths instead.
This is the device students used to prick their fingers and draw blood. It's called a lancet. The needle instrument was used during all six periods of a 7th grade science lab.
The principal at Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City says as many as 20 students shared only a few needles. The substitute teacher in charge of the class was fired immediately.
Warren Sedar, principal: "He was a very hard worker and really cared about the students & really apologetic. He was really upset when he realized the mistake he made."
The shared needles could have exposed the students to Hepatitis B, C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Joanna Orozco says she volunteered to provide a blood sample but after knew something was wrong.
Joanna Orozco, science lab student: "It looked strange. Shouldn't he at least clean it or something?"
On Monday night, health officials arrived at the school library to answer questions from concerned parents.
School administrators say they are shocked by the incident. They say the experiment violated several protocols and should not have taken place at all.
Jan Christensen, district superintendent: "The appropriate experiment which is outlined in the curriculum is to scrape the inside of your cheek and to use those cells to look at under the microscope."
The county health department will have representatives on campus taking blood tests Tuesday and will follow up if any results are positive.
Administrators say while the incident is serious, the risk is actually low.
Warren Sedar, principal: "I'm able to say luckily, that all of the students have had their hepatitis vaccinations. We've been going though their medical records and vaccinations are up to date."
The district is now reviewing its policy related to substitute teachers and may not allow them to teach science labs in the future.
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