Taiwanese kindergarten investigated for allegedly sedating children as parents protest delay in testing
A Taiwanese kindergarten is being investigated over allegations that staff have been sedating children.
Traces of central nervous system depressants were found when the children at the kindergarten were tested.
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Three parents spoke to police on May 14, reporting their children were irritable and showed self-harming behaviours between February and April this year.
They said the children told them their teachers had given them drugs, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.
Meanwhile, parents have protested the government’s slow response to the incident.
Hundreds of people gathered in New Taipei City on Sunday to criticise the length of time to investigate the allegations.
It took weeks for local authorities to carry out medical tests on the children after suspicions were raised.
The District Prosecutors Office in New Taipei City was first notified of a case involving the potential drugging of minors on May 15.
Three days later, it directed the police to search the kindergarten, retrieving CCTV recordings and other evidence, according to a statement.
More than a dozen parents had reported the matter to the police by early June, CNA reported, and on June 5 city authorities offered drug tests to every child attending the preschool.
Twenty-nine children had been admitted to the hospital for tests as of June 15, Director of the government-affiliated medical management association Lin Ching-feng said.
Twenty-eight tested negative for the drugs.
Kindergarten ordered to close
The local education department has ordered the kindergarten to close, and has fined it 150,000 New Taiwan dollars ($A7142.30).
The principal and four teachers from the kindergarten were questioned by police, CNA reported. They have been released on bail, and no date has been set for a court hearing.
The alleged incident has created an uproar in Taiwan, and the fallout could affect the Taiwanese presidential election in January 2024, with the incumbent mayor of New Taipei City, Hou Yu-ih, standing for the opposition Kuomintang party.
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