From: David C. Finster <dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**WITTENBERG.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Is this another?
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2019 15:48:27 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: CH2PR04MB67745A5E369B32B24603B77AB2D40**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <7a3f2073-74f7-254a-a258-9b924cf74fa6**At_Symbol_Here**>

Gees, again.

Sammye is right. 

The principal said in a notification to parents at the school:

"… Let me take this opportunity to assure you that providing a safe and secure learning environment is a top priority at Redan High School. This is an isolated incident and all safety measures will be reviewed. … Please do not hesitate to contact me at 678-676-3602 should you have any questions".

The incident may well be "isolated" at that high school, but there is little comfort in this observation, and it reveals the lack of knowledge about the nationwide problem with this kind of demonstration (and lack of proper training on the part of the teacher).  Perhaps an appropriately crafted statement from the CHAS/CCS to the principal would correct some of her mis-conceptions. 

Getting the right information about such hazards and risks to every public and private school in the country (… and I think that we don't have much insight into similar situation in other countries…) is a huge challenge.  We should continue to work the AACT and NSTA to do the best we can. 

I have tremendous sympathy for all K-12 teachers in every classroom and lab across the country as the challenge of teaching students in today's environment.  Even at the college level ( = my experience) about half of my effort in teaching students has little to do with chemistry.  Today's students need a wide range of support regarding both academic challenges and personal/social challenges that affect their ability to learn.  In this context, "teaching chemistry" is the easiest part of a chemistry teacher's job; we are asked to function as counselors/advisor to address a host of non-chemistry issues.  (If you are over 30, I would suggest that almost everything that you experienced as a high school/college student is not representative of today's classroom/lab.)  Many high school teachers are well intended and use demonstrations as a combination of "relevant entertainment" that is intended to motivate, inspire, and "just make chemistry fun".   This does not absolve them of being responsible about safety, and we all know that the education future chemistry teacher receive is clearly inadequate to the degree that "they don't know what they don't know" about safety.   An inclination to vilify the teacher is understandable, but he/she likely the person who feels the worst about this event.  Let's keep up our good work and effort to improve this situation.  We will never know about what tragedies will be averted because of our efforts, but we know what we need to do with that hope in mind.


David C. Finster
Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry
Wittenberg University

From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU> On Behalf Of Samuella Sigmann
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2019 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Is this another?


Sure looks like it could be.  Obviously something to do with mishandling of solvents.

This is an isolated incident and all safety measures will be reviewed.

I would beg to differ that this is an "isolated incident".

On 8/7/2019 10:49 AM, NEAL LANGERMAN wrote:

This just came from my news scanner



Sent from Neal Langerman's NEXUS 6.
Standard client confidentiality terms apply.

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We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do everything with nothing. Teresa Arnold paraphrased from Konstantin Josef Jirecˇek (1854 - 1918)


Samuella B. Sigmann, MS, NRCC-CHO

Chair, ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety, 2019

Senior Lecturer/Safety Committee Chair/Director of Stockroom


Appalachian State University

525 Rivers Street

Boone, NC 28608

Phone: 828 262 2755

Fax: 828 262 6558

Email: sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**


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