First-grader poked by lancet needle at school recycling event

"I said why is my child sorting through trash?" said Carla Vasquez.

That was her initial reaction when she got a call from the Margaret Black Elementary on Monday. The school explained it was an Earth Day event.

This happened during an Earth Day recycling event at first-grader Skylar Vasquez's elementary school in Sterling Heights.

"They sent the stuff that we were going to sort, bottle caps, but there was other stuff in there," said Skylar.

Her 7-year-old daughter Skylar was sorting plastic collected through donations. But there was a needle mixed in with bottle caps.

"And then I got poked with a needle," she said. "I was starting to bleed."

So Skylar went to the office.

"This was the biggest scare of my life," said her mom, Carla.

Where did the needle come from?

"If something happens to a needle, whether it’s exposed or poked somebody, whatever, it’s disposed of in a proper bin," she said.

The Warren Consolidated School District issued a letter to parents.

Part of the letter reads:

"After a review by a teacher, it was discovered that some of the boxes had plastic caps that are used to cover a lancet, which is a very small pin-like needle used by diabetics to prick their skin to draw a blood sample. Our investigation also revealed that someone likely had donated several of these lancet caps and must have inadvertently included the lancets themselves in the collection boxes."

For some context here is a picture of a commonly used lancet, not the exact one found at the school. But the letter itself was not enough for this parent.

"It was another kick to the gut for me," she said.

Carla says she made a doctor's appointment for Skylar.

"Now after a pediatric visit I’m told she has to have blood drawn every three months for the next year," Carla said.

Not knowing who the needle belongs to is nerve-racking.

"It’s a concern that doesn't just go away when we shut off the lights at night. It’s something I have to worry about for the next year," she said.

The school district’s letter also states a second child may have been poked or scratched by a needle as well.

"At the end of the day we have no idea who is on the other side of that needle," she said.

Carla says the district told her it is in possession of the needle and plan to send it away for testing.

In the meantime, Carla says her trust in the district is broken and has contacted a lawyer to discuss further action.

Skylar Vasquez

Skylar Vasquez