(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

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

City of Fernie to extend pilot snow removal program

Councillors voted unanimously on Sep. 17 to extend the program due to a lack of data points and disruption due to the pandemic

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read