(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

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

Ecosystem restoration burn planned for Premier Lake area

A prescribed ecosystem restoration burn is being planned for 12 hectares in… Continue reading

Ktunaxa Nation shares pledge of respect to mark Orange Shirt Day

The Ktunaxa Nation is sharing a pledge to help mark Orange Shirt… Continue reading

Key City Theatre moves ahead with phase two of upgrades

Board of Directors optimistic about future of arts community in Cranbrook

Kootenay and Boundary farm advisors services extended through July 2021

KBFA has engaged with 850 producers from 563 farms since June of 2018

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Most Read