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Science experiment goes wildly wrong as 12-year-old suffers possible third-degree burns after teacher allegedly covered his hands with sanitizer and lit them on fire

Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

A Texas middle school teacher has resigned after a science experiment went awry in the classroom, according to various reports.

The incident occurred on April 1. The school district in question is situated approximately 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

What are the details?

Granbury, Texas, police arrived at Granbury Middle School last week following reports of a student who had been burned on campus.

Investigators found that an unnamed teacher "put hand sanitizer in the hands of a 12-year-old male student and lit the hand sanitizer as part of a science experiment."

Though the teacher had reportedly carried out the experiment several times throughout the day on other students and had no trouble, the 12-year-old boy suffered what authorities described as possible third-degree burns on his hands.

“This had reportedly been done multiple times throughout the day with other students without incident, but the student in question suffered possible 3rd degree burns on his hands,” Lt. Russell Grizzard said in a statement. “The incident is under investigation and will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review.”

Police continue to investigate the incident. It is unknown whether the teacher will face charges in connection with the classroom injury.

On the day of the accident, the Granbury Independent School District took to Twitter and announced the incident, writing, "A Granbury Middle School student was injured on Friday after attempting to copy a demonstration shown in science class. The student is receiving medical care, and campus officials are cooperating with the city fire inspector/investigator."

Several days later in a follow-up statement, the district said, "A GMS teacher has resigned and is no longer an employee of the school district. This follows a student injury on Friday during a science class experiment. Campus officials have turned this matter over to law enforcement/proper authorities for further investigation."

Anything else?

Carrying out such a risky experiment in the classroom may not be wise, experts say.

“Hand sanitizers with high concentrations of ethanol and hydroxypropyl are flammable,” Dr. Anthony Pizon, chief of medical toxicology at UPMC in Pittsburgh, told TODAY in 2020. “Any amount of hand sanitizer can light on fire. The volume controls how rapidly the flame will spread. If you have a little bit on your hands, a little bit will light on fire.”

“You should make sure your hands are completely dry before you light a match,” he added at the time.

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