All Replies on Shop teachers response to the question about missing safety features "Its too expensive"...

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Shop teachers response to the question about missing safety features "Its too expensive"...

by newbiewoodworker
posted 11-20-2010 03:52 AM

33 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 11-20-2010 06:30 AM

It is the Schools and the teacher’s responsibility To see that the equipment is in good safe operating condition. You should contact the local School Board, State Education Board, OSHA and possibly the State Attorney General if need be to keep others safe. The teacher evidently is negligent in his attitude towards his students safety. It sounds as though maintenance is a very low priority on the part of the school system. What we do in our own shops is one thing, but it a community type shop, safety and maintenance is vital for all users.
Which is probably why so many schools are doing away with shop classes. Give the teacher an F for failure of safety and yourself an A for thinking of safety first.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3096 days

#2 posted 11-20-2010 06:33 AM

They aren’t being cheap. They’re being stupid. Good safety equipment is far cheaper than kids cutting off their fingers. Any school that can’t afford a Saw Stop can’t afford a wood working shop.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 11-20-2010 06:46 AM

I wouldnt completely mark him down to “F”... probably “D”, after all, he did say he would alter those tests if he could…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2906 days

#4 posted 11-20-2010 06:55 AM

wow, that is super scary. How can he teach TS safety and not use a riving knife???? I think that 90% of TS safety is using the appropriate safety equipment and about 10% technique. Good on you for your own knowledge.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3096 days

#5 posted 11-20-2010 07:14 AM

Shutting it down and having nothing would be better than kids cutting their fingers off. If they’re cutting corners in the woodshop they’re probobly doing it elsewhere too. They’re better off cutting one out completely and using the funds to make something else safe.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#6 posted 11-20-2010 07:15 AM

Maybe I will do that… good idea… Ill confront him maybe Monday. I want to ask him if I can run a couple boards, for my cabinets, after school, perhaps Monday or Tuesday. Since I dont have a dado set, whereas the school does(its plywood, so its safe enough do do w/o a plate). If he says okay, then I will ask him then.

In essence: “I noticed a the TS is missing a splitter. I was wondering if perhaps we could chip n a few bucks, to get a proper safety feature. It would make it safer for us. A plug-and-play runs about $20”

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 11-20-2010 12:41 PM

AS a local school board member – I would suggest that you and your parents have a talk with the teacher and principal – be nice and just explain your safety concerns and what needs to be done to bring the machine back into specs. – if the situation continues have the same group meet with the local super. If the super blows you off – ask to be put on the school boards agenda for the NEXT meeting and plead your case to the full school board. SAFETY and liability is a big concern in school – Have the student make a full presentation to the board – HIMSELF – with his parents in attendance.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3461 days

#8 posted 11-20-2010 01:07 PM

Having worked in a school for 30 years I can tell you that the money is the issue. I needed safety goggles for science class one year for a new program. I made the mistake of telling the super that it wasn’t safe without the goggles. He cut the unit out of the curriculum. A response that I didn’t expect.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#9 posted 11-20-2010 01:55 PM

safety is everyone’s responsibility – the school, the teacher, the student. No passing the buck here.
What are your options to ensure that everyone in the room is safe?

And be a creative problem-solver ... rather than saying “the school needs to have this to make it safe …. ” change it to “what can we do to make this safe?” .. that leaves the doors open to lots of options rather than it getting stopped at the “school funding”.

(The class is lucky to have you there!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3690 days

#10 posted 11-20-2010 02:05 PM

Why not do what every other school program does when it’s low on funds…. fund raiser. Heck, tell us the make and model of the saw, chances are that with 20,000 woodworkers, the knife you need is sitting unused in someones garage on a machine that doesn’t work.

Getting officials involved will do little to help the program and will most likely result in the closing of yet another woodshop.

A shop built splitter, that attaches to the throat plate would be an easy and cheap fix until a riving knife is found.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 11-20-2010 02:20 PM

Lots to comment on this topic. As a shop teacher (my 23rd year!), I can understand where both the student and the teacher are coming from. A bright student, as Newbie appears to be, would see the folly of not having proper safety equipment and the perils of “lesser talented students,” that would/will be greatly in danger if they allow their focus/concentration lapse even a small bit. Tough situation to be in.

The teacher is also in a tough jam. I’ll address the last item first: The safety test. I have had required safety tests with 100% correct requirements. Pure folly. In addition to keeping some kids out of the shop for 3 or 4 weeks, complete with phone calls from parents, visits by special ed teachers, meetings with adminsitrators, etc., you also have the supervisory problem of having students that passed this 100% requirement working in the shop, and the knuckleheads that couldn’t get 100% (even if you read them the test and then filled in the blanks for them) “loafing” in the classroom. You think the students that don’t pass the safety test are really going to study hard and get a 100% simply because they aren’t working in the shop? Not the way the education system allows us to work, is it? BTW… I can write a safety test that couldn’t be passed by anybody… or couldn’t be failed by anybody. Safety tests are non-referenced, and therefore, not a very effective method of indicating a students’ ability to be safe. It simply measures a students ability record, recall and regurgitate information in a given time frame.

All tools in my shop are optional. I cover them all (different levels of course; no use in teaching the 8th grade student the wood lathe or the shaper: they won’t get to use them until they get to upper level classes!), but I let usually let a student decide the best method to achieve a desired goal (Socratic method… trying to make thinkers out of them). If a kid wants to use the backsaw/chisel method to make a joint, I’ll let them (I teach them this, but it is before I get to the machine woods unit. Most kids see the efficiency of using machine tools, and choose the latter. However, some kids, even good students, don’t possess the confidence or skill to feel like they are comfortable enough to operate some tools.

A riving knife is a cheap safety investment, and can be made from scrap wood. Really can’t disagree with this point. No excuse to not have a splitter of some sort, whether it be a riving knife or a spiltter. The lack of such a device is simply laziness or ingnorance on the teacher’s part. Of course, I don’t know how many other preps the teacher has (drafting CAD mechanics welding machine shop) or other subject areas he teaches (science math PE Ag)... whether he drives a bus before/after school… or coaches three seasons (football basketball track!)... or has a second job to supplement his “hobby” known as teaching. Maybe my assessment of your teacher is a little presumptive.

Finally, the Saw Stop: pretty hard for me to walk into my Principals office and say “Mr. E: We need to spend $3500 on a new table saw.” Of course, I’d justify the rationale for the purchase, try to use Federal vocational monies or State aid or a grant to get the machine purchased, but I don’t know your teachers’ situation. And, in my State, the State Aid per student is expected to be cut another $375 between this year and next year. It is certainly not a good time to ask for the high end stuff… My pal, the PrinciPAL, might tell me that he can’t afford the program any longer, that NCLB and State Regents required coursework has squeezed him, and that I need to start looking for a new place to work.

Besides, I am pretty satisfied with the two Unisaws I currently have… guards and all!

Newbie… there really isn’t a Santa Claus! And, while I certainly wouldn’t do things the way your teacher is doing them, I can understand where he is coming from. I have seen a lot of things in my duration as a teacher at four different schools. Just understand that (I hope!) he is doing the best he knows how to do… or the best he can.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3020 days

#12 posted 11-20-2010 03:00 PM

I am NOT taking sides with the school. BUT. That saw without the safety equipment is TEACHING you people how to be aware of what can happen.
When we were at school it had a perfect record of NO accidents since it opened. The year I went, we had 3 major injuries. The same FOOL cut his thumb in two, then planed his little finger OFF from knuckle to nail. No safety equipment in word WILL save that IDIOT from an injury. He was TOLD many times, he was shown mant times and yet he needed to learn the hard way ! The third injury was a piona stool being turned on lathe TOO fast. BLEW apart, broke the guys nose, marked the cement wall and destroyed work on OTHER side of shop (30 ft away) It was a bad year, I still remember these accidents today. (It was 35 years ago, idiots name was “JOHN ”
Go ahead and REPORT the school, just don’t be surprised if you have POOR marks at the end of the year. Its Your call.
I have never been an advocate of running and tattling,

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3838 days

#13 posted 11-20-2010 10:36 PM

Ultimately, a child is the parents responsibility, not some baby-sitting school. If you think the shop is unsafe…don’t send your kid to that class. If you think school funds are being spent incorrectly….like the metal shop got some safety stuff but the woodshop class your kid is in is short on funds…then get political with the school…or maybe better…pay for the safety stuff yourself….then decide how affordable it is.

This is an old story, always political in nature. Our government doesn’t spend our tax dollars correctly and neither does a school.

The cost of safety equipment was probably spent on something else that some other parent thought was a crime that THEIR kid wasn’t getting in school.

If everybody got everything needed, then everyone would complain about how high taxes were.

If I were the teacher, I would write a letter to every parent of the kids in my classes and tell them that the course is unsafe. I would tell them that if they want their children to attend that class and be safe, then, they need to get political and have something done about it…whether it’s a fund raiser (which I think would be the best deal to raise awareness of the situation) or make the school shift funds or take their kid out of the class if they didn’t like it.

I think the teacher is in the worst position. The teacher is supposed to teach the class, the school is supposed to support that teacher, the teacher can’t make the school do anything, but they are probably front line liable if anything happens….and they can’t just quit…so rock and a hard place.

The people are paying the school to do something for their kids. I don’t think it’s the teachers responsibility to ensure that happens. It’s their job to teach. The parents need to get the school to do something.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3065 days

#14 posted 11-20-2010 10:43 PM

My stand is if a students in danger if being hurt because of an issue that the school CHOSE to iignore the district is LIABLE. As a board member I would DEMAND the problem be resolved. My guess is that the replacement parts could be ordered and that a temporary saw could be used (rented or leased from an individual or company) until the schools property was fixed. If it was a football helmet that needed replaced Im shure the school would “pounce” and purchase the required item.. If the shop teacher was guilty of using equipment that was considered “unsafe” because of neglect and a sutdent got hurt – im shure his or her job might just be in question – just my two cents worth.

View Pimzedd's profile


606 posts in 4166 days

#15 posted 11-21-2010 12:43 AM

As a retired “shop teacher” (34 years) and Career and Technical Education (Vocational) Administrator (6 years), I’m not sure where to start. I now make presentations to school administrators and teachers on “Shop/Lab Safety”;what to teach about safety and how to teach it.

Is the problem the teacher or the school? Sounds to me like the number one problem is the teacher. He is responsible and ultimately liable for safety in his class. The school is not liable in most states; schools have sovereign immunity. However, the Superintendent and Principal do not have immunity if they are aware of of the issue.

Let’s start with the safety test. A teacher that does not require 100% correct on safety test is setting himself up to loose a lawsuit. Like Uncle Salty said, a 100% passed safety test doesn’t guarantee a student’s safety, it just provides documentation in a lawsuit that the teacher taught the student and the student knew the rules.

Next a table saw with a guard that does not operate correctly. Maintenance of the equipment is first the responsibility of the instructor. If he is not able to make the needed repairs, he must report in writing (emails are great for this as they provide a paper trail) the issue and a recommended action. If the situation puts students at risk, the saw should be removed from service. If that means using hand or power tools, so be it. Again, the teacher is liable if he takes no action.

No dado insert. Is it missing or just not visible to Newbie? Maybe it is stored away for use as needed. Mine was. If missing, is cutting a dado without an insert dangerous?

Loose fence; a loose fence could cause a kickback. Once again a maintenance issue the teacher needs to address.

Unwaxed surfaces are probably not going to cause a safety issue. However, they do indicate an lack of maintenance on the part of the teacher. My students sanded mine with WD40 at the end of the year and waxed them twice a school year.

Now on to SawStop. I purchased five last year for my school district and budgeted for five more for this year. When those are purchased, all table saws in all the shops/labs will be SawStop. How did we pay for them? Public School Districts have access to Perkins Funds (federal money). That is what my district used, no local funds needed.

How about the kickback demo. I don’t like the method. I do not think the instructor could control all the factors such as a piece of wood that might splinter apart and go in multiple directions. I used to demonstrate with a piece of Styrofoam. Got the students attention with less danger.

Now this is specifically for Newbie. I am a little concerned with your belief that you are good enough to avoid accidents ie. reaching around a bandsaw, standing on the right side. Those were all safety violations in my class and rules on my bandsaw safety test.

Your statement, ”I am “quick, unlike others who are extremely cautious”… Yea, I am quick, but thats because I know my actions” worries me. My students that had similar beliefs tended to be OVERDCONFIDENT. I had a couple of students with similar beliefs that ended up getting stitches from a Doctor. Don’t let your opinion of your teacher’s teaching methods lead you to overestimate your abilities.

What can you do? Get your parents to schedule a meeting with the Principal. Of course that includes you as well. The principal needs to know, he/she may not be aware of the issue. If that gets no action, try the Superintendent. If that does not work, contact School Board members. 1yeldud1 is giving good advice from a school board member; especially the part about the students presenting the information. One word of caution, depending on the status of the class in the school or the school district, this could backfire and result in the program being closed. It happens! Is the easy way out for a school or a district.

One final thing, don’t call OSHA, OSHA rules don’t apply to public institutions like schools. I know, I tried to file a complaint when I was a teacher.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#16 posted 11-21-2010 01:29 AM

Pim: Maybe my wording wasnt the best:

-I am always extremely cautious. But unlike most kids now-days, I actually take a minute to THINK about what I am doing.. It allows me to proceed with caution, while still being functional.

-The Dado insert is missing: He said, and I quote “We used to have a Dado Insert over here…”

-Heres were you are wrong: OSHA does have pull in schools: Ours are inspected occasionally. Apparently just not recently…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2906 days

#17 posted 11-21-2010 01:56 AM

It’s interesting reading this blog and the comments and reflecting on my own limited woodshop experience as a 13 year old grade 7 student back quite a few years ago now. We were shown a black and white safety video called “Lucky” which showed people being mutilated by various woodworking machines. I think then we were given some instruction on using the various machines, but looking back I remember using routers, scroll saws and the lathe, which today, given the amount of instruction we had, it’s surprising we all escaped with our fingers.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View SignWave's profile


440 posts in 3058 days

#18 posted 11-21-2010 03:40 AM

Ask your teacher if you can work on fixing these items, with his help, perhaps even for extra credit. You seem conscientious, and if this were your shop, I presume that you’d fix all these things. It sounds like good practice whether you get extra credit or not.

-- Barry,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3699 days

#19 posted 11-21-2010 03:42 AM

Budgets are tight everywhere. You can expect to see them tighter in the next decade. I believe your choices are to get the shop shut down, learn to operate safely the way all of us learned 30 + years ago before all these things and OSHA were invented or volunteer to make it better by cleaning up the table saw and building what is needed to bring up to standards. I volunteer in a museum program for 1st and 6th graders. The school cut the transportation out last year due to loosing millions in funding for the district. The local Kiwanis funded the transportation. My wife has volunteered in school, 4-H and Campfire for the last 35 years. If it weren’t for people like us, the kids loose. The choice is yours to make it better or cause it to be shut down.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3065 days

#20 posted 11-21-2010 05:05 AM

Very well thought out comments “pimzedd” I am really impressed as you seem very sincere in your opinions !!!!!!!— One thing that also came to mind is that I am a tool maker by trade and if a student/teacher contacted us for help I believe I would “jump” at the opportunity to help. If it is a small school possibly a local business or contractor might also donate time/money to help resolve the equipment issues.

One thing to remember before we “lynch” this teacher is that we are only getting one side of this story from the student. Not to place any blame on the student but one thing I have learned from many years on the school board is that there is always 2 sides to every story and sometimes things are not always as they look – patience – find out the facts from both sides and then work on a “fix” to the problem.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#21 posted 11-21-2010 05:10 AM

Someone asked the Model: Its a PM66, its a green one…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3549 days

#22 posted 11-21-2010 05:12 AM

Newbie you make me nervous. You may think you know what you are doing, but please be careful. I have had kids like you in class. Very eager to do everything. In many of your posts you freely admit to doing things that would get you detention for not following the rules in my class, or probably kicked out for excessive safety violations. A little fear of the machines is a good thing.
I am fairly certain that OSHA can’t make a school shop change things. The school’s insurance company can come in and do an audit and ask for changes. Our insurance company makes yearly stops.
School budgets really are that tight. It doesn’t mean that you should have to use unsafe machines, but the shop probably can’t afford to replace the saw at all, let alone with with a more expensive saw-stop. In my district we have 1,800 for all of our classes (woods, metals, small-engines, photography, home-maintenance, drafting and cadd) There are special grants and funds that we can use to get extra money from time to time, but there are a lot of things on the wish-list so to speak. I don’t know how big of a school you are in or what other classes there are, but I know of more then one district that has an official budget of $0. All of their money comes from student fees and fundraisers.
You said that only a few kids use the table saw for projects. I have a couple of questions. What grade level are the kids in your class? How do the other kids get pieces ripped? What type of projects are you making?
I had a less then wonderful table saw a few years ago, but it was in middle school and no students used it. I don’t teach the table saw to my 8th graders, so if one of them would have wanted to use the machine it would have been similar. Perhaps it is unusual that students want to use the table saw in class.
I am not completely defending your teacher, I just want you to know that it is tougher then you think to teach.
I would recommend that if you want to get a better machine in the shop that you volunteer to fix it. As one of the other posts said, you can make dado inserts and splitters. Correcting the safety practices of your teacher, no matter how unsafe he is, is only going to cause you to burn-bridges. Also, if a small shop class costs too much moeny, a district will quickly close the shop forever.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#23 posted 11-21-2010 05:19 AM

MrsN: That is your oppinion, and I respect it; But you are dead wrong on your opinions about me personally.

You also said that ”...only a few use the TS for projects. But how do other kids get pieces ripped” and”Perhaps it is unususal that students want to use the TS in class”.. These seem to me, these are two contridictory statements.
- – - The TS is a valuable tool. It is capable of more than any other tool alone. That is why a few of us are willing to learn to use it…
- – - – -Those who don’t have training, I imagine, will have to either ask the teacher, or ask those of us who have training, as a favor, to do so. We havent gotten this far yet. Still in safety.. First month was devoted towards OSHA, and getting my OSHA 10hr cert.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3549 days

#24 posted 11-21-2010 05:42 AM

What type of school do you go to that you get an OSHA 10hr cert? None of the schools in my area do that kind of thing. Are you in a trade specific school?
What I meant by saying ”Perhaps it is unusual that students want to use the TS in class” is that perhaps the curriculum of the class makes it so that most kids don’t really need to use the saw or learn it. One of my classes the kids would maybe make 2 table saw cuts, so it doesn’t merit a week on safety, I make the cuts as a demo in class. If I had a student or 2 who really wanted to pass the test I would give it to them. You don’t say what type of projects the class is making so it is hard to determine what the curriculum base is.

My opinion of you isn’t really negative. Two of my favorite students got kicked out of my class for not following safety rules. But, I hope I am wrong. Kids can surprise you.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2850 days

#25 posted 11-21-2010 05:48 AM

I go to regular Public High… My CAD teacher last year is my woods teacher this year… so he is kinda incorporating construction, since he is also a part time contractor….

We do alot of work that could require it, from my understanding. Raindeer basket thingys, stick houses, a project of our choice, et cetrea…

Most would say that a Uni-Plane and 3 lathes would be obsolete… yet we have one… and Im sure it has a reason…

Besides, a Table Saw is a valuable tool to learn. If you go onto Carpentry, you WILL need one. If you go onto just DIY, you COULD need one… But if you stay with Woodworking, you will WANT one…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Pimzedd's profile


606 posts in 4166 days

#26 posted 11-21-2010 06:12 AM

MrsN, OSHA 10 hr. cards can be earned by students in either General Industry or Construction. Students can earn their card in a couple of ways.

The easiest and BEST is through a website Careersafe online. The cost is $18 per student. The Perkins funds I mention earlier can be used to pay the cost. The website is managed on the Texas A&M University campus through a relationship with OSHA. It is a youth to youth presentation; students present to students. It is totally interactive, students can’t sleep through it. There are assessments at the end of each module and at test that MUST be passed at the end. There is a demo on the site if anyone wants to take a look.

The other method is for a teacher to go through Train the Trainer for the 10 hour and 30 hour certification. I was certified when I was in the classroom. The online program put what I did to shame.

This is a lifetime certification. Many construction jobsites will not allow anyone on the site without the certification. As an administrator, I had many teachers presenting this to students. I even had students in an Interior Design class getting their 10 hr. Construction certification.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3699 days

#27 posted 11-21-2010 07:04 AM

newbiewoodworker What is OSHA 10 the cert they would have in high school?

BTW, I started my apprenticeship before OSHA was passed. I was walking steel beams with bundles of conduit on my shoulder at 19. Most of it was about 40’. No steel on the site was more than 50’ because they had to pay 1 1/2 x scale for high time if there were no safety rails, ect in place. High time went to 2x at 90’ :-)) I never got any high time, 40-45 was high enough for me. The fun part was sliding down I beams at break and lunch time. Steel worker went back up them. I only did that once. Too much work with 20# tool belt on your hip ;-)) The ladder was the best route back up.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3699 days

#28 posted 11-21-2010 07:12 AM

I just tool a quick look at the OSHA program. Looks like a good place to start your “safety career”. Most construction sites in the NW are going to site specific safety evaluations for every contractor on site.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3685 days

#29 posted 11-21-2010 10:08 AM

newbiewoodworker I’m just curious, what grade are you currently in? It felt a little strange that you refer to others in shop class “kids nowadays” like you’re from an era where kids are a different breed.

As for the safety features, you can always volunteer to make a insert w/ splitter and a dado insert out of scrap. Even for myself I think $20 is too much to pay for an insert. And you might as well help out in the shop too. I remember back in highschool my shop teacher spend A LOT of time in the shop to keep it well maintained. Definitely above and beyond his regular hours. Not everybody can afford that much time

-- Ed

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3221 days

#30 posted 11-21-2010 04:09 PM

This will no doubt get me in trouble, but I’d have to say that what bothers me about these debates is the way most head for the polarities. Law suits and huge damages to force compliance on the one end, and laissez faire look out for yourself on the other.

Neither makes much sense. It’s a practical issue that balances cost against what society deems an acceptable level of risk. Risk cannot by definition be eliminated without cancelling the activity – yet many keep on talking as though having had an accident amounts to negligence of itself. Most of regulatory involvement in accidents is for example more a witch hunt than anything constructive.

Leading it seems to many schools getting out of craft training out of fear of liability.

The fact is that it could be the teacher has tried to get budget many times and been turned down on this or other occasions, and while his response isn’t rational or even practical it’s not unusual to see those in bureaucracies out of fear of losing their job or getting chewed or whatever tolerate all kinds of lunacy.

The fact is too that he might just be lazy or negligent, but it’s much more likely that the organisational culture has beaten him into a state of ‘learned helplessness’. (try Googling the term)

There’s actually only one solution to any of this. That being caring attitudes, integrity, consistency and acceptable skills on the part of all concerned – including those leading organisations and those being taught. Once the intention is correct it sorts itself out without any need for recourse to nuclear options in which all except a tiny minority lose.

The nuclear and simplistic options tend to emerge when somebody sees the option to make a buck/cover their ass or whatever by leveraging politically correct/self interested but lazy and impractical attitudes to the topic in question…


-- Late awakener....

View terrilynne's profile


836 posts in 2916 days

#31 posted 11-21-2010 04:45 PM

I think rhett is on to something. Talk to the school about having a fund raiser.
Maybe make some small items in woodshop to sell or have people in the community donate items for an auction or yardsale.

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View barlow's profile


129 posts in 3763 days

#32 posted 11-22-2010 05:32 PM

I graduated high school in 2005, and used a saw that sounds similar to what your describing for four years with no accidents on it by any body in any level of shop. It had a gaurd but was flipped down out of the way and was never used. My first year of shop was with a teacher who had been teaching shop for fifteen yrs on that same saw with no major incidents. This same teacher was moved up to high school principle and another shop teacher brought in who continued to teach how to safely run the same saw, again with no major incidednts on that same saw how it was origionally set up.
I have seen blood in the shop one kid cutting very small pieces on a bandsaw kerfed his finger, and another sanded the tip of his finger on the disk sander sanding again a very small part. One of my best friends was drilling a hole with a fosner bit towards himself and when the bit punched through it grabbed his sleave and ripped it off. In every accident the principle/former shop teacher would come down for his reportand basically asked what the hell were you thinking to each of them. All of them were experienced students and were supposed to help police the less experienced.
Money is always the problem with the vocational programs, the school I went believed in seeing how many computers they could buy and just have sit there with barely any use, but no money to woods or welding. So we found work for both of them to raise funds for different items, one way we raised money for woods was by building a display case the school needed for just under what they could order one for.
When I was in school we policed ourselves, taddling wasn’t tolerated and if someone would have got the shop shut down that student might as well transfer schools because there would be about twentty pissed off kids. Simple rule of life no one likes a whine ass, no one likes a smart ass.

-- barlow

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#33 posted 11-22-2010 06:14 PM

Even with all the safety procedures in place, someone will still get hurt !

I seen a kid in my shop class put a groove across his palm, you would have thought he would know where the blade is !

Safety is your own responsibility, Not the Schools or anyone else’s !

After All we are talking about woodworking !!

As far as your teacher, I think he is doing what he can with what he has !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

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