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Chemistry Experiment Sets Girl on Fire

CHICAGO (CN) - A high school chemistry teacher set a student on fire during a demonstration of ignition, burning the girl's body and face, her mother claims in court.

Jennifer Dryden, on behalf of her daughter Tatiana Schwirblat, sued the Chicago Board of Education, Lincoln Park High School, and chemistry teacher Joy Walter in Cook County Court.

Schwirblat was a student in one of Walter's chemistry classes in fall 2013.

"On November 25, 2013, defendant Joy Walter was performing the ignition of elements in said chemistry class," the lawsuit states.

"Walter was performing the demonstration and attempted to ignite cobalt in a petri dish with a match.

"Because the cobalt did not ignite, defendant Joy Walter poured an unmeasured amount of methanol over said cobalt and match, causing an outward explosion.

"Plaintiff's minor, Tatiana Schwirblat was participating in the class and was observing said demonstration.

"As a result of said explosion, plaintiff Tatiana Schwirblat's clothes caught fire, causing her to be burned on her body and face."

Tatiana's mother says there was no protective shield around the petri dish, and the teacher failed to follow school lab safety procedures.

Dryden seeks damages for negligence, willful and wanton conduct, and reimbursement for medical expenses.

She is represented by Sean Driscoll with Clifford Law Offices.

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