Action Report: Students want their money back after phlebotomy class

Action Report: Students want their money back after phlebotomy class

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Adult students took a 10-week phlebotomy course in Moss Point. The students contacted WLOX News Now because they claim they paid to take a test to become certified and they never took the test.

In late January, Summer Witherspoon says she paid $350 to take a class to learn how to draw blood from patients and become a certified phlebotomist at the Moss Point Career and Technical Center.

In June, WLOX was at the ceremony when Witherspoon and other students who completed the course received a certificate of completion. But, Witherspoon soon learned the course did not make her a certified phlebotomist.

"They told us that we were going to be taking the test, but we never did take the test, "said Witherspoon.

Witherspoon said she applied for jobs at various hospitals and clinics on the coast, but each time, they told her she needed to be certified. To become certified, she needs to pass a test.

"I'm a single parent," said Witherspoon. "I have to be able to provide for her."

Witherspoon isn't alone. Another student, who doesn't want to be identified, is also a single parent, and she wants her money back.

"When we signed up for the class, the test was included. We're still waiting to take our test," the student said.

We went to the Moss Point Career and Technical Center to talk with director Dr. Durand Payton. He wouldn't talk on camera, but responded in an email.

"The phlebotomy course was a 10-week Saturday class offered as an enhancement for adult learners. The course was $260, plus a $90 testing fee for the certification test," Payton said in the email.

The application for the class reads "Phlebotomy Certification." It states that the class does not guarantee employment. It also states students would not hold Moss Point CTE liable if the student fails to pass the certification test. Students had to initial each of these lines on the application.

In his email, Payton said the particular certification chosen is one geared toward students who have no prior phlebotomy experience. Although certifications are not required for employment, some positions prefer certifications before hiring.

Payton added that the course outline was patterned after college programs with instructional hours dedicated to theory, lab, and externship, which is medical internship.

Witherspoon said the one day a week class started in late January, but they didn't get their books until March.

"The instructor, she Googled things off the internet for us to study. We didn't do any job shadowing. We didn't do any intern. We never saw an actual lab," said Witherspoon.

We contacted Dr. Shannon Vincent, Superintendent of the Moss Point School District. She sent us this response:

The adult education program is approved and monitored by the Mississippi Department of Education's Career and Technical Adult Program Coordinator. However, our goal is to always serve the community and its needs. Therefore, we are willing to issue the refund of $90 to students who have not had the opportunity to take the certification test.

Witherspoon said she wants a total refund of $350.

"I need that money back so I can be able to afford to pay for another class that will actually do right by me," said Witherspoon.

To receive the $90, students must request their refund through the Moss Point School District's Finance Department by Sept. 1.

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