Reply by DustyMojave

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Posted on A Near Tragedy

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4 posts in 2039 days

#1 posted 09-19-2012 11:25 PM

Long Post…
When I was a High School Senior, I was taking an after-school course in Land Surveying at my High School. The instructor, Paul Bott, was also the Wood Shop teacher at the school. I think of him in looking back as a very good teacher who got the message through to us students. Although I understand that such is often not a good way for things to be in a classroom, the members of that class actually looked upon him as a friend and mentor rather than in the usual way one sees “Teachers”.

So when one day he was surly and obviously quite upset about something, we students were concerned. So a group of us got up from our drafting tables and gathered around him insisting he “fess up” and get his problems off his shoulders. So he relented and called the rest of the students to gather around so he could tell us all what the issue was.

During his regular teaching day, I believe it was 3rd or 4th period for woodshop, a student was seriously injured. He told us that a couple of students were talking to each other about unrelated matters while working with adjacent power equipment. He told us he had observed this and hollered across the shop at the students to stop talking to each other and pay attention to what they were doing. After acknowledging his commands, they went back to what they had been doing. As he headed across the shop towards them, he yelled at them again. The one using the planer had his head turned toward the other student as he fed his machine a fairly large board. Then the sound of the machine suddenly changed and the shop was sprayed with red instead of sawdust. His hands had fed into the planer and were taken off to above the wrists. He pulled back the stumps and held them up in front of his eyes before collapsing to the floor. Mr Bott performed 1st aid as he had learned while serving as a Combat Medic in Vietnam. He sent a couple of students to get help and asked others to clear out the rest of the students. Once the ambulance attendants got the student out of there, the Principal had asked him not to go back in the shop pending the investigation. It was some time before things were back to normal with Mr. Bott.

In that case, I feel that while I was not there to observe what actually happened, considering how Mr. Bott handled safety when the Surveying class was out in the field, that he was quite probably quite good at handling safety in the woodshop too. Since at that time I had 10 years experience as a Technical and Safety Inspector at Sports Car Road Races, which I do now at OffRoad races, and was also responsible for crash investigations at the races, I feel I was uniquely qualified to judge his concern for safety.

My evaluation of that incident was that it was probably one of the student, while having been schooled in safety and proper operation procedures with that machine, was simply not paying attention to what he was doing and paid the consequences. I hope that the school and Mr. Bott were NOT held responsible for that incident.

In this incident with the girl and her hair, perhaps the teacher COULD have done more to make sure the student was obeying the safety rules, ultimate responsibility must lie with the student since she acknowledged that she knew she was violating safety rules regarding hair. I doubt the injury was severe enough to warrant calling 911, but the student in this case should definitely have been sent right away for evaluation by trained medical personnel. Since her mother apparently works for the school district, she should have been notified immediately and relieved of her work to take her daughter for medical examination.

-- Richard

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