Pupil loses fingers in art lesson

Hitby

Well-known Member
I have sympathy but really, how thick do you have to be?

edit: fair enough - she wasn't told about the reactions that occur when plaster sets and the teacher should have been keeping a closer eye on them all
 

JackFord

Active Member
To me the compensasion doesn't seem enough, losing your fingers has got to be extremely damaging to every aspect of your life.
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
Who thought it would be a good idea to put your hands in a bucket of plaster and wait for it to set to create a usuable cast of them?
Regardless of the reaction, you'd still have to smash the thing up to get your hand out wouldn't you? :confused:

EDIT: just read the BBC article where it says the pupil was told to make a cast in clay and then pour the plaster in... and she put her hands in the plaster for 10 minutes.... Apart from saying the teacher should have spotted the mistake much sooner, she probably expected 16 year old pupils to be able to follow simple instructions.
 
Last edited:

nheather

Distinguished Member
That is terrible. I feel so bad for the girl - putting blame aside that is a truley dreadful thing to have to live with.

I have sympathy but really, how thick do you have to be?

For once I don't agree with this sentiment - usually I look at such accidents and agree that the victim was being totally stupid.

I think the pupil was a bit silly because she didn't think how on earth she was going to get her hands out when it set.

But I don't imagine that many people are aware of the exothermic properties of setting plaster, let alone how extreme the reaction is.

I would imagine that most people (even intelligent ones) would say that it's a bit stupid because your hands would get stuck but then it would just be a matter of breaking the plaster to release them with no real harm done.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

BAN5HEE

Well-known Member
Feel sorry for the girl and wouldn't wish it on anybody but she only has herself to blame. In nature it's called natural selection.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
My sister is well into her arts (doing art something at uni) and even she didn't know that plaster of paris could do this. In fact she said she was never allowed to use the stuff back in high school. They just a cheaper and safe alternative.

Can't believe how much the girl was paid out, not nearly enough consindering she is scarred for life and only has 2 digits left. She is pratically disabled now. I don't think anyone is to blame, just one of those very tragic accidents.
 

rickinyorkshire

Distinguished Member
I feel for the poor girl, no matter how silly she was she will have that disability for the rest of her life.
 

leeince

Distinguished Member
I was also unaware that plaster could do this to someone and feel that the dangers should have been highlighted to the class before the practical took place, that being said the girl had made a mould from clay so she knew she weren't suppose to put her hands in the plaster and she would have been fine if she had followed instruction properly.
 

krish

Distinguished Member
Can't believe how much the girl was paid out, not nearly enough ... I don't think anyone is to blame, just one of those very tragic accidents.
If there isn't anyone to blame then there isn't anyone to sue, and she shouldn't have any compensation
- as it stands I think it's a fair settlement, as the school still has some duty of care, which should involve preventing the loss of digits
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
I'd say a LOT of people, myself included, would have no idea that that could happen with plaster. Whilst the girl may have been a little daft in not thinking how she'd be getting her hands out of set plaster, there's no way she'd know the damage that could have been caused.
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
In this case I don't think anyone is to blame really.

She should have followed the instructions but then again most people don't know about the reaction with plaster (I didn't either).
The teacher should have stopped her but with a class of 30 pupils you unfortunately can't have your eyes everywhere. I'm sure the teacher will feel guilty regardless.
 

AJUK

Active Member
I think it's just a terrible accident, i don't blame the teacher or the girl. It's an easy mistake to make if you don't hear an instruction properly in a noisy class, it's not like she was messing about.
 

SanPedro

Well-known Member
Doesn't look like the pupil has received any compensation. The figures mentioned are fines against the school. But any compensation might be dealt with separately.

As for the case itself, shocking as it is, it's difficult to say what the school should have done to prevent it. If the school itself doesn't receive advice on how dangerous it is to get your hands stuck, how can they be held responsible? I'm assuming the school has been fined for not reporting the incident, rather than the actual incident itself.

I remember mixing Plaster of Paris myself when I was a kid (10 years old) under supervision at a scout camp. We made moulds of paw prints and the like. Nobody ever mentioned it could be dangerous or that you shouldn't stick your hands in it... but then again... nobody was ever stupid enough to put their hands in the damn stuff.

Are we creating a generation of kids that just don't bloody listen or what?
 
I didn't know that plaster heated up either. I think that the packaging should bare a clear warning of this behaviour.
 

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
Hi,

Like many others in this thread, I had no clue whatsoever that Plaster Of Paris has an exothermic reaction, and heats up to such horrifically high temperatures. :(

And, as many did before, I used P.O.P as a kid, and was never told that it could be potentially dangerous. The worst we were ever taught, was that it sets quite fast, and you'd have to break it with a hammer. Nothing about burning your skin! :eek:

I sympathise with the girl on this, an whilst I don't think the school should be entirely to blame, they do have a certain amount of responsibility towards a student's welfare. Depending on which articles you read, some say the school didn't offer any warning; some articles claim the student was told to make the hand-mould from clay, not P.O.P, and some reports said that she was told P.O.P. was safe!

About the only one thing that has been confirmed in all reports, is that school's governing body admitted breaching health and safety regulations and also failing to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive. The court was told the HSE was never informed by the school about what happened. It only found out six weeks after the incident from the girl's plastic surgeon!

I think it is because of this, that the school has been held negligible for the incident, and not because the girl used P.O.P to do a mould of her own hands.

If anyone has ever seen any warnings on packets/buckets of P.O.P, could you post images, because all the pics on the Net from places that sell it, including children's art and craft sites, don't mention any dangers at all!


Pooch
 

BAN5HEE

Well-known Member
It goes almost through the same chemical reaction that cement does. The same thing will happen to you if you dip your arm in cement. She should have said something as soon as she started feeling the heat, but nevertheless still unfortunate.
 

CraigofScotland

Distinguished Member
Thankfully there is enough hand left that she can still pick her nose :rotfl:

On a serious note, the teacher should lose his teaching licence for this.
 

CraigofScotland

Distinguished Member
I feel very sorry for the young girl, but I don't believe the teacher was to blame.

Just a terrible accident.

The teacher asked a girl to put her hands in a chemical reaction, then let the reaction continue to the extent of losing 8 fingers. Not an accident as much as ignorance. Not knowing it would happened does not mean its ok.

I am a scout leader and when a kid falls over, this is an accident. If i allow him to do something reckless like jump from a great high and he breaks his knees, I am fully responsible.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
The teacher asked a girl to put her hands in a chemical reaction, then let the reaction continue to the extent of losing 8 fingers. Not an accident as much as ignorance. Not knowing it would happened does not mean its ok.

I am a scout leader and when a kid falls over, this is an accident. If i allow him to do something reckless like jump from a great high and he breaks his knees, I am fully responsible.
AFAIK the teacher did not ask the pupil to put her in the POP at all.
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
The teacher asked a girl to put her hands in a chemical reaction, then let the reaction continue to the extent of losing 8 fingers. Not an accident as much as ignorance. Not knowing it would happened does not mean its ok.

I am a scout leader and when a kid falls over, this is an accident. If i allow him to do something reckless like jump from a great high and he breaks his knees, I am fully responsible.

Apparently the teacher told her to make a mould out of clay THEN pour the POP in the clay mould. Not put her hand in the POP and wait for it to set.
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
Thinking about it, I wonder if the pupil thought POP was the same thing as those kits you can buy to make a cast of your baby's hand/foot?

I think it's the same stuff as used by dentists. It's powder and you add water and then stick your hand in it and it sets into some sort of flexible rubber which allows you to take you hand out easily and then you pour the plaster in.
 

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