To ensure that students receive adequate protection while learning, courts have placed upon school administrators and teachers a legal duty of care. This means that schools must do everything reasonably possible to protect students from foreseeable injury and death. While accidents happen, the school is liable to compensate parents and students for injuries if they are deemed by a court to be liable. Damages that a school may have to pay include medical bills, pain and suffering, and if a child is left permanently disabled, they may be able to claim future wages.
US News reports that a Georgia teacher botched an experiment and seriously injured a student.
16-year-old Malachi McFadden suffered from third-degree burns to his face, neck, and torso, requiring hospitalization. His chemistry teacher at Redan High School botched a demonstration called the “burning money demonstration.” The incident occurred on the second day of his junior year.
Bridgette Blowe wrote a statement that was included in a report about the accident. She stated that she had completed the experiment successfully in previous years and for two previous classes that year. The experiment involved setting a bill soaked in accelerant on fire. However, the flame did not burn out completely. Blowe wrote that she meant to reach for water to extinguish the flame, but poured alcohol on the flames instead.
Superintendent Sean Tartt recommended that Blowe be terminated, but Redan High School Principal Janice Boger recommended suspension and training on classroom safety.
Blowe had worked at Redan since August 2016 and from August 2007 through June of 2013 had worked at other Dekalb County Schools.
A lawyer for McFadden said that they will likely be suing the school system to cover current and future medical costs, including plastic surgery.
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