School Custodians Getting Stipend to Pick Up Dirty Needles - NECN
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School Custodians Getting Stipend to Pick Up Dirty Needles

In total it will cost just under $15,000

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    The Brockton School Committee in Massachusetts approved giving hazard pay to custodians in the district. (Published Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016)

    The Brockton School Committee in Massachusetts approved giving hazard pay to custodians in the district. 

    In total it will cost just under $15,000. 

    "The extra pay is for the training and the extra time that they have to put in out here looking for the hypodermic needles which became an issue this summer," said Brian McElhinney, Prinicpal Officer for Teamsters Local 653. 

    The union, Local 653, oversees custodians in the district. 

    Out of 125 custodians in the district, 32 of them will train on how to properly dispose of the needles found on school grounds. 

    "It was something they never thought they'd have to do," said McElhinney. 

    Brockton Public Schools released a statement saying in part: 

    "The custodian will arrive well before staff and students to sweep the grounds for needles as part of the daily routine using thick gloves and place them in a secure container for disposal." 

    Each custodian will be paid $457 a year in return for training and extra hours of work. 

    "It became an issue every morning," said Dawn Putignano, senior custodian at Barrett Russell Elementary School. 

    She led the charge bringing the issue in front of the union which led to Tuesday's victory. 

    At the end of the day Putignano said it's not about the money. 

    "Our job first is to keep the school clean and safe so if there's needles outside its not safe and it's not clean," said Putignano. 

    A concerned mother of two young girls said needles are seen along the sidewalk in her neighborhood. 

    "It's pretty clear where the issues are," said Sunni-Dai Pankey. "Follow the trail of needles perhaps." 

    Pankey said she's glad schools are taking action. 

    "If they don't pay the custodians to pick up the needles or to look out then we'll have children who could possibly be infected," said Pankey. 

    Custodians will receive hazard pay after training in December. 

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