A Student’s Fight

Injured student

To effectively illustrate the practical application of an educational theory or concept, teachers may often incorporate tangible or realistic examples.  On May 2, 2022, a former science teacher at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico brought two swords into the classroom to demonstrate a lesson on metal and melding.  Rather than simply showing the swords to the class, the teacher instructed the students to duel with one another.  The two weapons were katana- and rapier-style swords and did not resemble props.  The level of probable danger might not have been anticipated, as one student was injured.

Now, less than two years following the incident, the grandparents, who are also the guardians of the injured student, have filed a personal injury lawsuit.  Within the complaint, the grandparents claim that their grandchild, who was 16 years old at the time, was instructed to engage in a duel, during which the opponent slashed her right forearm, wrist, and hand with the katana-style sword.  The student’s injuries consisted of deep lacerations that severed tendons and nerves.  Despite attempts to surgically repair the damage, some of the student’s injuries are permanent and she is currently unable to maintain full use of her hand and wrist.

On the day of the injury, the school allegedly did not notify the grandparents of the young student until 20 minutes after the duel, and then waited an additional 10 minutes before calling an ambulance.  According to the incident report written by the assistant principal, the metal and melding lesson that accidentally caused the student harm did not violate any school rules.  Despite this report, the science teacher was let go from the position in July of that same year, about two months following the incident.  As defendants, the lawsuit names Albuquerque Public Schools, the assistant principal, and the former chemistry teacher.