Student Hurt in Chemistry Class Can’t Sue Teacher

January 25, 2013

A Detroit-area teacher can’t be sued for a chemistry demonstration that lit a student’s shirt on fire and burned his face.

The Michigan appeals court says Carrie Weingartz has governmental immunity as a public school teacher. A three-judge panel said Wednesday that her conduct was not grossly negligent.

Jeremiah Russell was a student at Southfield-Lathrup High School when he was burned during chemistry class in 2009. Flames flared out when Weingartz lit a dish containing alcohol and copper chloride.

She performed the same demonstration earlier that day without a problem and had learned about it from another teacher. Weingartz had been teaching in Southfield since 2003, but 2009 was her first year leading general chemistry.

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