High School Principal Admits “Mistake” for Student Burned in Chemistry Experiment

Beacon High Principal said she “made a mistake” by overlooking safety procedures that led to the unfortunate disfigurement of a student when a chemistry experiment went awry in 2014. According to The New York Daily News, a chemistry teacher at the prestigious Manhattan school created a fireball in the classroom in a “rainbow experiment.” According to the newspaper, this chemistry experiment involves “pouring a one-gallon jug of methanol directly onto hot Petri dishes… producing multi-colored flames.”

Unfortunately, the experiment went awry and Alonzo Yanes was horrifically burned. Medical reports show that the high schooler spent months in the hospital recovering and required skin grafts on more than 30 percent of his body. Testifying before the court in Manhattan, Yanes said he lives with excruciating pain and a permanently disfigured body. According to the teacher, she performed the experiment correctly although safety experts testified that pouring the methanol from a beaker instead of directly from a jug could have prevented the disaster.

Regardless, the horrific fire that maimed Yanes would have been easily controlled if the school had followed safety protocols. The principal testified that she did not know the hoods and vents in the science labs had not functioned for years. New York state law also requires students to stand five feet away from any science experiments and be provided safety goggles. When asked what kind of safety preparation she used in the classroom, the teacher apparently sang ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll’, according to The Daily Mail. Speaking on behalf of Yanes, his attorney said, “No matter how you look at this, it’s negligence stacked upon negligence.”

In the event you are injured due to the neglect of another, contact our personal injury attorneys to discuss your case.

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