Originally created 11/14/97

Dozens of fifth-graders shared needle in science experiment



COLLINS, Ohio -- Dozens of fifth-grade pupils may have shared the same needle to take blood samples for a science lesson.

The needle was disinfected between samples with alcohol and soap. That may not have been enough to protect against diseases like hepatitis and AIDS that can be transmitted through needle-sharing, Superintendent Dennis Bahmer said.

At least 75 youngsters at Western Reserve Middle School pricked themselves with the needle so they could examine their blood under a microscope, the Norwalk Reflector reported Wednesday.

Each of the teacher Donna Fraelich's fifth-grade science classes shared the same needle for the experiments three weeks ago, Bahmer told the newspaper. Students were offered a drop of Mrs. Fraelich's blood if they did not want to use their own.

Bahmer said the teacher would be disciplined but he did not elaborate.

Bahmer said the school will pay the medical tests for any student who requests it. Testing could cost the district more than $8,000.