Teacher Fired After Allowing Students To Share Blood-Testing Needles

Miyoshi McMillan says her students wanted to learn their own blood types

WRALMiyoshi McMillan outside Overhills High School
A science instructor in North Carolina was deemed to have gone too far in her attempt to give her students some hands-on experience by doing a blood test on themselves. Miyoshi McMillan was fired by Overhills High School in Spring Lake for allowing 16 of her students to prick their own fingers so they could learn how to determine their own blood types, sharing the needles in the process.

As was first reported by TV station WRAL in Raleigh, once the students completed pricking their fingers they were asked to wipe down the lancets with alcohol so that others could use them to do the same. But as The Huffington Post reported, the directive given to students to sterilize the lancets with alcohol might not have been sufficient, as alcohol is not always enough to kill blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis or HIV.

McMillan did not force students to use their own blood -- along with a small number of lancing needles, the testing kit included synthetic blood -- but one unnamed student was still disturbed by the whole situation. The student, who has not been named in reports, alerted her parents, who in turn told school officials. McMillan, who entered teaching as an extension of her background in biology and has yet to formally receive her teaching license, was fired later that day. No injuries or health problems have been reported as a result of the lesson.

In speaking to WRAL, McMillan described the dismissal as heavy-handed. After all, she pointed out, "it's OK to use [a lancet]. It's there. ... if it was not OK to use, then I think it should have been taken out during the summer." And she added that many of her students found the exercise rewarding. "Some students were, like, 'Oh, this is cool. I want to know my blood type,'" she said.

But Harnett County Schools spokeswoman Patricia Harmon-Lewis told the TV station that teachers are explicitly warned about the use of blood in the classroom. "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," she said. School Principal Kylon Middleton described the incident as "a nightmare."

The experience is a blow for the Greensboro College lateral teaching program that placed McMillan in the classroom in the first place. Another local TV station, WFMY in Greensboro, said the program places 20 to 30 professionals in classrooms each year in a bid to promote teaching as a second career.

But programs like the one at Greensboro have an inherent challenge before them; "just because you know your content doesn't mean that you know how to teach your content," Rebecca Blomgren, the director of the Greensboro College Teacher Education Program, told WFMY.

In the case of McMillan, Overhill High sent letters home with every student in its biology classes, urging parents to have their children screened for blood-borne diseases. McMillan, for her part, said that she will leave teaching to seek her doctorate. "The best is yet to come for me," she told WRAL.

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I personally was one of the students in the second class, and I can confirm that this happened- and no, I didn't prick myself. And while she did give us a two page paper that had to be written that night if we refused to use the lancets, she honestly tried to force everyone in our class to do the blood typing. This wasn't simply "letting the students do something", she argued with the entire class of upperclassmen who refused to do it. The five people who pricked themselves were the ones who had just had enough and didn't feel like arguing anymore. And the student who called their parents had to lie and claim she needed to go the bathroom. When another student in the class asked to go to ask administrators if this was an okay thing to do, Ms. McMillan became mad and refused to let anyone leave the room unless it was a bathroom pass. We had done dangerous experiments before this, including using unsterilized and dull dissection blades to dissect a kidney and eye, both times when she refused to open the door to let the formaldehyde fumes out of the room to the point that several students nearly passed out, and then didn't clean the area or properly dispose of the organs. Both students and parents had been repeatedly complaining to the Administrators about her lack of knowledge in the curriculum, and that she didn't have a curriculum to begin with, for roughly 8 of the 9 weeks we had been in her class, to no avail before it became a legal issue. She had never sent any forms home to parents for any of the experiments, and she didn't know proper lab procedures that we all had learned in Middle School. She never even bothered to look at our medical forms that we have in the school, and when several students, including me, tried to explain some medical conditions that made some of those labs so dangerous for us, she laughed and said we were overreacting.
This is just my opinion, but she deserved what she got.

November 01 2013 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sunny G

I don't agree with what this teacher did in the classroom. However, I pray that none of the students have any blood bourne illness which had not been reported before this incident. It would be unfair if the teacher gets blamed for something that was already present and just not accounted for. I pray that all of the students are OK.

October 31 2013 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently common sense was no where to be found.

October 31 2013 at 7:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This cannot be real, don't parents teach their children anything. There is no excuse for this by the so-called teacher, the school. The school doesn't have a policy?

October 31 2013 at 2:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Weird things happen in NC.....this is just the *TIP of the ICEBERG*....we have *self initiated warrants* which allow any citizen to go to a NC Magistrates' Office and take out a warrant against anyone for about anything....without any investigation or PROOF that any crime took place...NO JOKE****and then we have NC Judges who APPROVE NC DOMESTIC PROTECTION ORDERS for people who HAVE NEVER HAD ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WHAT SO EVER****Lots of Strange things happen.....this names just a few*

October 31 2013 at 12:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I guess you just cant fix stupid!

October 31 2013 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What kind of biology is she studying that allows her to ignore basic, fundamental blood-born pathogen safety procedures? What ever college she attended should be ashamed to have her name on one of their diplomas.

October 31 2013 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I guess we could talk about the way standards are different for different groups of people to be accepted into college but where would that get us. We know stupid people get into college all the time whether it's affirmative action or daddy made a big donation to the school. Either way, we sure are scraping the bottom of the barrell at times.

October 31 2013 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Forget the race people. It dont matter what or who she was or her nationality!!!!!!!! Get over the race thing for at least long enough to post something useful. The concept of taking your own blood sample to see what type you are at least makes a LITTLE sense I guess but, using the same needles???? Please tell me if I read this right!!! If so, if one of those kids gets sick from someone else's needle I hope she gets more than fired, I hope she is prosecuted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get real!!!! This is some more of this change I guess!!! WOW, unreal!!!! Scary!!!!

October 31 2013 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is what happens when, in hopes of being more inclusive, we have dumbed down the teachers.
No wonder the students keep falling further behind with stupid teachers like this.
Unfortunately, if she is in a union, quietly she will get her job back at perhaps another school and we will hear nothing about that.

October 31 2013 at 10:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to billcdaly's comment

NC does not have a union, so she won't be teaching anywhere! Plus she was in a program for lateral entry into teaching. She did NOT have a teaching license, so she's really done as far as teaching!

October 31 2013 at 2:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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