Preschoolers found to have traces of barbiturates
The New Taipei City Government says blood tests have found trace amounts of barbiturates in eight students at a private preschool in the Banqiao District.
New Taipei Deputy Mayor Liu Ho-ran said the blood tests administered to 28 students on 5 June detected the barbiturate at a concentration of 1-1.5 micrograms per millilitre in six of the students. Two other children showed higher concentrations of 1.5-2 and 3-3.5 micrograms per millilitre. Tests administered to the other 20 children have came back negative.
The city's health department said the type of barbiturate found is used in some cold medicines and pain killers, and that the concentrations found in the children were considered "trace amounts."
Prosecutors opened an investigation into the preschool after several parents filed reports with police that a teacher had given their children unknown drugs and used improper physical methods to discipline them.
New Taipei police have questioned educators of the school after sending five others to the prosecutor's office. The staff workers allegedly fed children sleeping pills. Police searched the preschool and the teachers' houses, confiscated their cellphones and the school's records yesterday, and brought back the head teacher and 7 other educators for questioning.
Five of them were then sent to the prosecutors, who later said that all of them are now facing charges of causing injuries and mistreating a minor based on the Criminal Code. They've been released on bail ranging from NT$20-50,000.
Meanwhile, the New Taipei Education Department has revoked the preschool's operating license, saying that the children will be transferred to other kindergartens.