Tag Archives: Lisa McVey

From the Titanic Legal Files: School Sued Over Titanic Experiment

gavelIn October 2012 Lisa McVey, a teacher at Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville, Delaware, conducted a science experiment in her seventh-grade class. The experiment involved learning how cold it was the night Titanic sank in 1912. Students put their hands into ice water up their mid- forearm and keep them in as long as possible. One student, Nina Jordan, had her right hand in the water for 40 minutes and suffered injury press reports say. When she took her hand out, she experienced numbness, tingling and a lack of sensation.

While her right arm still functions, her lawyer argues there was nerve damage. Her parents filed suit in February of this year against the teacher and school district. The school district argued to dismiss the case arguing that state law gives immunity to school districts and their employees. However Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes ruled on 31 July denying the motion. Stokes said the teachers had to supervise the students and a legal duty to protect them as well.

This is not hard to fathom folks. A teacher challenged the students to put their hands in freezing water for as long as they could. Now most people know that putting hands into freezing water risk, if left long enough, frostbite. Over at WebMd they define frostbite as follows:

Frostbite is usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, particularly if they are accompanied by a low wind-chill factor. It may also occur following more brief exposure to very cold temperatures.

It is one thing for kids to put their hands in the cold water for a moment or two to get the idea of how cold it was when Titanic sank. But letting them keep their hands in the water for longer periods of time is both foolish and stupid. And if you challenge kids to keep it as long as they can, some will try to do it not knowing the risks. Which is what the teacher is supposed to be on watch for. And apparently did nothing (as far as we know at this point) to stop Nina Jordan from keeping her hand in freezing water for 40 minutes.

1. Injured Delaware Girl’s Lawsuit Moves Forward(9 August 2014,Delmarvanow)
2. Judge Say School Lawsuit Over Titanic “Experiment” Involving Freezing Cold Water Can Proceed(8 Aug 2014,Daily Journal)