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Home The News News Parents protest city response to child drug claims

Parents protest city response to child drug claims

Nearly 1,000 people, mostly parents accompanied by their children, yesterday protested at the Civic Plaza outside New Taipei City Hall, voicing discontent over the city government’s handling of the alleged drugging of preschool students.

New Power Party Chairwoman Claire Wang (王婉諭) and Taiwan Children’s Rights Association director-general Wang Wei-chun (王薇君) organized the “Do Not Drug and Harm Our Children” rally after children from a private preschool in the city’s Banciao District (板橋) tested positive for traces of sedatives.

The city government took more than three weeks after it first received reports of children being sedated to provide on-campus drug testing and hold consultations with parents, Claire Wang wrote on Facebook.

Protesters at the “Do Not Drug and Harm Our Children” rally demonstrate outside New Taipei City Hall yesterday.

Photo: Huang Tzu-yang, Taipei Times

Given the city government’s response, they invited people to voice their anger toward officials and hopefully channel their frustration into a collective force aimed at protecting children, she said.

A family member of a child nicknamed Little Peach, who died as a result of abuse inflicted by a babysitter, attended the rally.

She said that she empathizes with the parents of the preschool children who were allegedly drugged, adding that she hopes more parents stand up for their children and that people without children should also hold the government accountable, she said.

A mother at the rally said she wants the government to impose stricter punishments on the perpetrators of child abuse, and establish better and more comprehensive protection mechanisms, such as improving the salaries of preschool teachers, to ensure that children grow up safely and happily.

Separately, the Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday said that a urine sample of a student at another branch of the preschool in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止) tested negative for benzodiazepines.

The student had tested positive for low traces of benzodiazepines in two urine drug tests last week, and the ministry on Saturday said that it sent a specimen to be further analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Hospital and Social Welfare Organizations Administration Commission Chief Executive Officer Lin Ching-feng (林慶豐) said the negative test result means the child was either not given drugs containing benzodiazepines or that the drug had been fully metabolized.

The ministry’s Taipei Hospital began offering urine and blood drug tests and healthcare consultations to children associated with the preschool chain on June 8.

As of yesterday, 73 children had received a urine test and 56 of them had tested negative, while 17 are still being examined, Lin said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2023/06/19

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