The city of Boston’s Department of Public Health responded to concerns over discarded drug needles littering the area around Roxbury’s Orchard Gardens school last week, by installing a needle receptacle in front of the K-8 institution. But some parents are crying foul, saying the new dropbox will only make matters worse.
What are the details?
Five months ago, parents protested outside the school, urging officials to do something about the used needles scattered in such close proximity to their kids. While some parents recognize the city was trying to be proactive by installing the receptacle, others say it was not the right solution.
Franciso Diaz, whose son attends Orchard Gardens, told WBZ-TV, “I’m kind of glad they’re doing something,” but added, “I do believe that it is a little too big, excessive for it to be in front of the school like that.”
Fellow parent and youth coach Domingos DaRosa told the outlet that the installation of the disposal station was not the answer to the problem.
“No, definitely not the answer, especially in front of the school ’cause now you’re promoting for addicts to get high right by the school,” she said.
DaRosa has reportedly spent a great deal of time picking up needles and said the receptacle hasn’t helped, anyway. He asked the WBZ news crew to follow him across the street in front of a school bus lot to demonstrate the magnitude of the issue.
“We’re less than 100 yards away from the disposal box, and we can fill a container in less than 10 seconds,” he said.
According to WBZ, Mayor Marty Walsh suggested parents use the situation as a teaching opportunity.
“People are concerned if there are needles there,” he told the CBS affiliate. “People are concerned if there’s a box there. I mean, I think what we’re trying to do is keep the needles off the street.”
Parents Protesting Needles Around Boston Elementary School Say Dropbox Isn’t The Answer
In December, a reporter from the Boston Herald discovered two discarded syringes on the Roxbury school grounds while meeting with parents and staffers alarmed by the “widespread complaints” over needles on the school grounds.
School librarian Erica Pastor told the newspaper at the time, “A 24-hour patrol needs to be here. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of people being here, throwing the needles down, and then we’re just cleaning it up. People need to be kept away from the immediate school grounds.”
Mayor Walsh said in a statement: “We have taken steps to protect our students from the harm of the opioid epidemic by increasing the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Unit, prioritizing substance use education and prevention, and training staff on how to properly dispose of any encountered needle.”