(Black Press Media files)

Botched science demonstration results in $60K damage, Okanagan teacher’s transfer

Teacher transferred after volcano gone wrong, petition started for his return

An explosive science demonstration in an Okanagan classroom resulted in nearly $60,000 in damages and a teacher’s move to a new school.

On Feb. 16, 2018, Allan David Penner, a 28-year teaching veteran working at Lake Country’s George Elliot Secondary School, made a chemical volcano to demonstrate the decomposition process of ammonium dichromate.

“District science teachers are expected to be familiar with Material Safety Data Sheets prior to using chemicals,” reads the B.C. Commission for Teacher Regulation decision made public on Tuesday, June 16.

Penner did not review the materials prior to his demonstration and as such did several things contrary to safety regulations. He did not wear safety goggles, a lab coat or proper gloves and he conducted the demonstration sans a ventilation hood, risking chemical exposure to his students and himself.

Penner’s most dangerous mistake, however, came in his disposal of the chemicals — he used water to wet down the residue, wrapped it in paper towel and threw it in the garbage.

“In doing so, Penner did not consider the possibility that the residue contained unreduced amounts of an oxidizing chemical which was not sufficiently cooled down and which created a fire hazard when thrown in the garbage can,” reads the decision.

That residue reacted with the garbage in the can starting the fire that caused $59,655.99 worth of damage.

The Central Okanagan School District issued Penner a letter of discipline on Sept. 25, 2018, and suspended him for 10 days without pay and transferred him to a new school.

The matter then made its way to the commission, which reached an agreement with Penner on May 20 to suspend his teaching licence for three days. Penner agreed his actions constituted professional misconduct.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan teacher suspended for showing South Park, John Oliver to students

READ MORE: Naramata massage therapist accused of sexting on the job banned from treating women

Petition calls for Penner’s return

A petition on change.org is calling for Penner to return to George Ellliot.

As of Wednesday June 17, the petition had accumulated over 700 signatures.

“Mr. Penner is one of the most valued, loved, and funniest teachers in the Lake Country community. Students everywhere greatly enjoy his science classes, humorous stories, nature walks, teaching techniques, patience, and intelligence,” reads the petition.

“He has been at George Elliot Secondary for more than 20 years, and we, the undersigned, hereby state that we want him to once again return to teach at our school.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sooke and T’Sou’ke Nation receive financial boost for projects

Provincial, federal governments invest millions towards Greater Victoria infrastructure

Victoria man collects 28 bags of trash along two-kilometre stretch of highway

20-year-old spent 12 hours collecting garbage near Thetis Lake

It’s showtime: Victoria theatre reopens with new COVID-19 protocols

Capitol 6 theatre and SilverCity Victoria have reopened with limited seating

Victoria Police searching for missing teen

Arianna Mckenzie, 17, last seen July 2

Ryan Reynolds matching fundraising dollars for B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest

Vancouver-born actor appeals to the public with Make Ryan Pay! campaign

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read