A used needle was found by students at St. Teresa of Calcutta, something principal Elise Daragon hasn't seen in her 30 years as an educator.

A group of four boys at the school were playing near a portable during the lunch hour last week when they discovered a used syringe. They did not report the incident.

Later that day, one of the kids was at an afternoon program at the YMCA and mentioned it to the group leader.

“She immediately responded by calling the afternoon custodian who was in the building,” says Daragon. “He in turn went out to the portable located the needle picked it up safely, he was rubber gloved and disposed of it in a safe needle return site we have in our school.”

Misinformed stories about the incident quickly circulated on social media.

Daragon says she didn't get wind of the incident until the next morning.

“We quickly went into motion about what to do that day to make sure our students were safe,” says Daragon. “At no time were our students not safe.”

Daragon interviewed staff and the four boys.

“First of all, we praised the boys for not touching the needle, not acting and trying to take care of things themselves,” says Daragon.

Daragon used the incident as a teachable moment, sending a letter home that day with each student that included guidelines on disposing needles, as outlined by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

The health unit dropped off posters at the school on Monday, detailing steps to take if a needle is found. 

“Unfortunately this is the day we live in,” says Daragon. “Our students need to be very versed as far as what do you do when you come across something you know is going to hurt you or potentially hurt you.”

Daragon says she and members of her staff scan the playground each morning to ensure the safety of their students. That sweep covered a bigger territory on Monday.

The Catholic school board says the posters from the health unit will be distributed to other schools in Windsor-Essex.