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Substitute teacher

Substitute teacher allows students to reuse same needles for blood pricks in biology class

Saturday, November 02, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: substitute teacher, reused needles, blood samples

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(NaturalNews) The Harnett County Public School System in North Carolina made national headlines recently after ones of its substitute teachers was fired for alleged misconduct in the classroom. According to CBS Charlotte, Miyoshi McMillan, who had worked at Overhills High School in Spring Lake, N.C., since 2009, was let go after she reportedly encouraged her students to reuse the same needles for taking blood samples during an honors biology class.

It all began when the school furnished McMillan's classroom with a blood-testing kit that included its own needles. The kit was seemingly intended to help students in the honors-level biology class learn about their individual blood types by collecting small blood samples and analyzing them. And since there was a limited number of needles, McMillan had the students simply sterilize the needles with alcohol after each use and pass them on to the next students.

None of the students were forced to participate in the experiment, notes Opposing Views, but the issue blew up when one of McMillan's student's got up and marched out of class during the experiment, upon which she angrily called her parents. Word quickly got down to the school office about what was happening, and the experiment was immediately cancelled. Not long after that, McMillan was fired from her position.

"They were like, 'Stop the lab! Stop the lab!'" McMillan is quoted as saying about the incident to Opposing Views. "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."

School claims McMillan overstepped her bounds, even though it provided the testing kit

But school administrators apparently see things much differently. They have openly accused McMillan of not only failing to follow proper safety guidelines for taking blood samples but also carelessly encouraging her students to take their own blood samples during class, something they say should never have taken place.

"We don't want students to be, first of all, sharing a needle," stated school spokesperson Patricia Harmon-Lewis to ABC News about the incident. "And second, to have any type of human blood in the classroom."

And yet the school allegedly furnished McMillan with the kit in the first place, something she contends relieves her of liability. The experiment was voluntary, none of the students were pressured to participate, and safeguards that McMillan believed to be reasonable were put in place, she says. In her opinion, the school is simply targeting her as a scapegoat for their own lack of judgment about the testing kit.

"I believe it's really been blown up and it's been a character strike against me," McMillan said. "From my understanding, I thought, 'Well, it's okay to use (a lancet). It's there. If it was not okay to use, then I think it should have been taken out during the summer."

No student was harmed by shared needles

According to reports, all 16 of the affected students were immediately sent home with notes urging their parents to have them taken to the doctor and tested for disease. As of this writing, none of them have tested positive for anything that may have been transmitted through the reused needles, despite the outrage of the school's principal, Kylon Middleton, who declared the situation "a nightmare."

"It's okay," stated McMillan to WRAL.com in Raleigh, who plans to move on from teaching and continue taking classes to eventually earn her doctorate. "The best is yet to come for me."

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