Teacher burns chemistry student; isn't liable because immunity granted for ordinary negligence
Jeremiah Russell suffered burns to his face when his chemistry teacher conducted a new chemistry experiment/demonstration and a fire flared into the first row of students. His mother, as his conservator, sued the teacher and the Southfield Public Schools. The School system was immediately dismissed because school systems are immune from injury claims.
In order to recover any damages for Jeremiah, the family would be required to prove that the teacher (or some employee) was guilty of "gross negligence." The Republican majority of Michigan's Supreme Court has interpreted this legal standard to require more than aggragavated negligence and to require proof of the equivalent of wanton disregard for the possibility of injury. The Court of Appeals ruled that under the facts in Jeremiah's case, the teacher was guilty of only ordinary negligence and therefore not liable for the injuries she caused.