Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 07:56:28 -0700
Reply-To: Gordon Miller <miller22**At_Symbol_Here**LLNL.GOV>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Gordon Miller <miller22**At_Symbol_Here**LLNL.GOV>
Subject: Re: Respirators on High School Kids
In-Reply-To: <p06010206c14d8fde6e05**At_Symbol_Here**[]>

Even if the teacher isn't sued, what about the Department the teacher 
works for? Safety and health relate to loss prevention. And what if 
the teacher isn't covered by E&O, then the teacher has to mount 
his/her own defense whether the judgement goes against the teacher or 

I can see providing kids with things like goggles and aprons, but not 
something as sophisticated as a respirator. I wore stuff like that 
when I took high school and college Chemistry. Some training more 
than "put these on" and instruction is needed following the lead of 
29 CFR 1910.132 which calls for certificating the training.

>I consulted for the plaintiff in a recent AZ case where the district 
>and middle school teacher were successfully sued.   The teacher (who 
>basically had zero chemistry background) decided that he would 
>demonstrate sublimation and energy by sealing dry ice and water 
>inside plastic soda bottles...  That's what I would call Bomb 
>Building 101.
>Long story short (I'm going to write it up for J Chem Ed when I get 
>a chance), a student lost an eye.
>No doubt the plaintiffs could have collected quite a large sum, but 
>it settled out of court (terms not disclosed...).  I suspect there 
>other student injury cases involving chemical safety issues and 
>tort, but the incidents are quitely settled rather than proceeding 
>before the suits are formally filed.  [Personal aside: I have a real 
>problem with any lawsuit being settled without publicly disclosing 
>the leads to cover-ups of product safety issues]
>Obviously, the case I discussed here is an extreme example of 
>someone doing something (in my personal and professional opinion, 
>for any libel lawyers hanging out here) incredibly stupid and 
>outside normal practices (not mention that construction of such 
>devices is a felony in AZ).  But it demonstrates that instructor 
>lawsuits can happen, particularly when one recognizes that many 
>teachers teach classes outside their abilities or formal training.
>>There's been a fair amt of concern abt lawyers and liability.  I 
>>practice law - part time now, formerly full time in Va Atty Gen'ls 
>>In Virginia, as I suspect in most states, sovereign immunity 
>>shields public school teachers from common law tort liability.  In 
>>the 30 years I've had a license to practice law, I've never heard 
>>of a successful suit against a public school teacher for a purely 
>>teaching related activity.  Racial or other discrimination, sexual 
>>misconduct, etc.,  claims yes - tort liability - no.
>>But the law varies some from state to state.  This would be a good 
>>issue for the CHAL [law] section to give a symposium on at an ACS 
>>national mtg.
>>R. Leonard Vance, JD, Ph.D., PE, CIH
>>Associate Professor
>>Department of Epidemiology & Community Health
>>Virginia Commonwealth University/MCV Campus
>>1008 East Clay Street, "Grant House", Room 324
>>Box 980212
>>Richmond, VA  23298-0212
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