Four ninth-grade students suffered mild to severe burns during a science experiment at Maple Grove Junior High School. Three were released from the hospital with minor burns; one suffered second-degree burns to his face, neck, and hand.
The accident happened during a science experiment performed by the teacher. About 30 students were in the classroom. According to the Star Tribune, the teacher dropped a lit match into a jug of methanol, which made a small flash fire and loud boom. A student in the front row looked down to take notes of his observations when apparently the teacher performed the experiment a second time resulting in an explosion that caught the 15-year-old teen on fire. It is not clear if the students suffered chemical burns or were burned by fire. The school district and state fire marshal are investigating. In the meantime the methanol demonstrations, which have been a regular part of the school curriculum, have been stopped.
One major question is why the students were not wearing safety goggles during the experiment. The father of the burned teen said he hopes the school learns a lesson. “Some policy changes and safety issues need to be addressed.”
The teen’s medical expenses will most likely be staggering; medical care continuous and painful. His injuries may very well be life-altering, both physically and emotionally. He may face permanent disfigurement which will serve as a constant reminder of the accident.
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