Richards teacher on leave, suit filed after chemistry class accident
By STEVE METSCH email@example.com September 19, 2011 1:50PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:00PM
A teacher at Richards High School in Oak Lawn has been placed on administrative leave while school officials review an accident that took place Sept. 13 in a chemistry class, a Community High School District 218 official said Monday.
A student in the class, Dillon Mantia, 16, lost vision in his left eye after a plastic bottle containing dry ice and water exploded, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. Citing the lawsuit, the district has declined further comment.
Kimberly Mantia claims that her son was in chemistry class on Sept. 13 when the teacher attempted to perform a demonstration, according to the lawsuit. The teacher combined dry ice and water in a plastic water bottle and sealed it tightly with a cap, and then passed the bottle among the students so they could feel and observe the pressure building, the lawsuit said.
But the plastic bottle exploded — causing severe and permanent bodily injuries to the boy’s face and hands, along with “irreparable loss” of sight in his left eye and loss of hearing, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims the students were not given safety goggles even though the demonstration was “inherently dangerous” and involved a “highly volatile compound which threatened the safety and well being of ... all the students present in chemistry class.”
The three-count suit claims negligence, willful and wanton misconduct and vicarious liability. The suit seeks more than $150,000 in damages.
A telephone message left Monday at the Mantia home in Chicago Ridge was not immediately returned.
Contributing: Allison Horton