A North Carolina substitute teacher has been fired for allowing students in her science class to prick themselves with needles during a blood-type experiment.
Miyoshi McMillan used blood-testing kits that she said were in the classroom when she arrived to teach a biology lesson at Overhills High School in Spring Lake, N.C., according to school spokeswoman Patricia Harmon-Lewis.
“The teacher decided that it would be an addition to the experiment to have students actually take a lancet and prick their own fingers using their blood,” Harmon-Lewis told ABC affiliate WTVD-TV, adding that students then used alcohol swabs to clean the used needles for the next class.
McMillan insists that the kits contained needles that were there for her to use during the lesson.
“[They] should have been removed before I took this position,” she told WTVD-TV, calling the “blown up” backlash a “character strike” against her.
Because blood can carry infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has guidelines for the safe disposal of used needles.
McMillan said the students had the option of using their own blood, collected from a fingertip jab with a pointed lancing needle, but they didn’t have to.
“I really believe that the children will be fine,” she said. “My main concern is the safety of the children.”
A letter was sent home with 16 students in the class recommending that they be “evaluated by a physician” to make sure their blood wasn’t affected, WTVD-TV reported.