A substitute biology teacher was fired for allowing students to share needles in a classroom experiment.
Miyoshi McMillan, who is currently enrolled in a Ph.D program, was teaching biology at Overhills High School in North Carolina. She found a lab kit in her classroom, which she used to have students determine their blood types.
The lab kit included synthetic blood and seven lancets, or pricking needles used to obtain drops of blood for testing, said Patricia Harmon-Lewis, spokeswoman for Harnett County schools.
Students who didn’t want to participate in the experiment were given an alternative assignment – to write a five-page paper.
The students were told to wash the needles in alcohol after using them.
A concerned student left the class and called her parents – who immediately notified the school.
McMillan told the local news, “They were, like, ‘Stop the lab! Stop the lab!'”
“We don’t want students to be, first of all, sharing a needle, and second, to have any type of human blood in the classroom,” Harmon-Lewis said.
Overhills High Principal Kylon Middleton called the situation “a nightmare,” McMillan said, and the first-year teacher was fired by the end of the day.
“All staff members at the school have gone through training, which included blood-borne pathogens,” said Harmon-Lewis. “The staff should know not to do those things in classes. That is why she is no longer employed with Harnett County schools.”
Alcohol is not always sufficient to kill blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis or HIV.
“The administration called every parent of every child as soon as we realized it happened,” Harmon-Lewis said. “Afterwards they sent home a notice telling them to go to their primary care physician or urgent care in order to have baseline bloodwork drawn.”
McMillan doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset:
“I believe it’s really been blown up and it’s been a character strike against me. The kids did not get a straight needle put into them. I really believe that the children will be fine. My main concern is the safety of the children.”
“I was not supposed to use this kit, or any other science equipment in the laboratory. It should have been removed before I took this position.”
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