Canadian student left partially blind after alleged unsafe school experiment

May 15 2023, 9:54 pm

A Grade 7 student’s family says she is partially blind after a teacher allegedly wasn’t supervising her class when a science experiment went awry.

According to a notice of civil claim filed by the child’s father in the BC Supreme Court, the girl, who was 11 years old at the time, was taking part in a science experiment on a grass field in Richmond, BC, on Jessie Wowk Elementary School’s property last November.

According to the lawsuit, the science experiment involved pressurizing a two-litre bottle of water with a bicycle pump “such that it would become a rocket-propelled object and fire up to 50 feet in the air at high speed.”

The Grade 7 student was holding the water bottle when it “accidentally launched directly into her face.”

The family claims the Grade 7 teacher, Orson Woo, was not supervising the student and her classmates when the alleged incident happened.

This incident allegedly caused the child to sustain multiple injuries, including retinal detachment of the left eye, partial blindness, pain and discomfort, and psychological harm.

According to the notice, “Within weeks following the accident, the Defendant, Woo, no longer taught at the School.”

The family is suing the Richmond School Board since they argue it can be held liable for their daughter’s injuries because of its employee’s (Woo’s) negligence.

The family claims negligence because the student was allowed to conduct the science experiment without proper instructions, was not provided adequate safety equipment, and was not correctly supervised.

The lawsuit goes on to claim the school board and Woo failed to safely conduct this experiment, seek parental consent, have any medical staff examine the child, and inform her parents “of the true nature of the injuries.”

The family is seeking unspecified damages, including damages for future wage loss, loss of earning capacity, and health care costs.

The family’s allegations have not been proven in court.

Daily Hive has reached out to the Richmond School Board for comment.

Nikitha MartinsNikitha Martins

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