“I can’t believe a teacher thought it was appropriate to take a gun into a school. Surely there are safer ways to do this experiment than taking a deadly weapon into the classroom?” This from an anonymous parent speaking to (or existing entirely in the imagination of) dailymail.co.uk. The deadly weapon: a BB gun. The teacher in question: Richard West of St Peter’s Collegiate, Wolverhampton [UK]. The experiment: measuring the deceleration of a pellet as it passed through sheets of paper. The problem . . .
The pellet deflected off a table, hitting 17-year-old AS-level pupil Ben Barlow in the leg causing a massive, gaping wound, threatening death by exsanguination. No wait. “I was left with just a scratch.” And so the school fired the 50-year-old physics teacher with an otherwise unblemished teaching career.
Tim Cooper, a former English teacher at St Peter’s, said Mr. West was ‘one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the privilege of teaching with.
An English teacher ending a sentence with a preposition isn’t a sackable offense, but a GUN RELATED experiment gone awry is, apparently. And yes I know: if this had happened in the U.S., Mr. Barlow’s family would have sued the school. Mr. West would have been fired. And then he would have sued the school.
In any case, Mr. West is lucky his career wasn’t terminated (with extreme prejudice) by a crack team of Authorized Firearms Officers. Just sayin’ . . .