18 year old Claudette Joseph and another female student suffered severe burn injuries in a botched chemistry experiment that occurred in October 2018 at the Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies High School for Violin and Dance located in the Bronx, NYC. Our partner Jeffrey Bloom is representing Claudette and recently filed a lawsuit on her behalf.
Claudette was burned in an accident similar to the one suffered by Alonso Yanes, another client from our firm who was represented by Ben Rubionowitz ( read more about this personal injury case). She was part of a group of students attending a so-called “Carbon Snake Experiment”. The experiment consists in burning sugar and baking soda together. As the sugar and the baking soda burn and decompose, carbon dioxide gets trapped within the carbon and creates gas pockets that extend longer and longer like a black snake. Students were gathered around Eric Broussard, the teacher to look at the experiment. Despite a recent CSB_Back_to_School_Safety_Alert asking chemistry teachers to use only small quantities of flammable chemicals during experiments, the teacher used a bottle of rubbing alcohol for the experiment. Vapors came out of the opened bottle and ignited in a fireball that severely burned Claudette and another student on their face, torso and hands.
Both students were rushed to the hospital to be treated. Claudette suffered second degrees burns that have left her with permanent scars. The young woman who is an accomplished violonist is still traumatized by the horrific accident. “This has been extremely traumatic for her and her family,” Jeffrey Bloom told The Post. “Every time she sees these scars, she is reminded of what happened that day.”
The NYC Department of Education needs to make sure that all chemistry teachers are following all safety protocols during chemistry experiments. The teacher, Eric Broussard, and his assistant were aware of the dangers of the experiment but they didn’t take the appropriate precautions to protect the students who were attending the experiment.