(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Botched science demonstration results in $60K damage, Lake Country teacher’s transfer

George Elliot teacher transferred after volcano gone wrong, petition started for his return

An explosive science demonstration in a Lake Country 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 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

A Cougar was caught on camera at a Coldstream Estates residence early Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (Brad Thomas photo)
VIDEO: Cougar caught on camera in Coldstream

A Coldstream Estates resident captured early-morning footage Wednesday

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

A Shoppers Drug Mart employee in Vernon has tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed on Jan. 27, 2021. The last day the employee worked was Jan. 23. (K-J Millar - The Northern View)
COVID-19 case at Vernon Shoppers Drug Mart

Loblaws notes positive result on disclosure page

Okanagan Symphony Orchestra music director Rosemary Thomson in action at the podium. Photo by Lynda Miller.
Kelowna filmmaker gets funding to create new ‘Local Heroes’ documentary

The documentary will be focused on the director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Opera

Tom Ouchi is Respect Works Here’s Community Champion for January 2021. (Contributed)
Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Lesley Lutes, UBCO professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Obesity and Well-being Research Excellence. (Submitted)
UBCO psychologist part of Bell Let’s Talk virtual panel tonight at 6 p.m.

Panel will talk about coping under the stress of this pandemic

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through Okanagan Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through ice on Vaseux Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

Superstore
Three employees test positive for COVID-19 at Okanagan Superstore

Penticton 7 Eleven has reopened after closing for a week for COVID

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

A rendering of the proposed “Aqua” resort in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area. (Contributed)
Towering waterfront resort planned in Kelowna

Mission Group’s ‘Aqua’ resort has been in the works for more than a decade

“My grandma always just said…making people smile is the most important thing,” says Nicholas Kruger. (Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Entrepreneur Nicholas Kruger nominated as Okanagan community changemaker

With humour and knowledge, Nicholas Kruger says it’s important to give back

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Most Read