I'm asking this question for my mother who is a science teacher in junior highschool in france.
Recently during class one of her student (11 yo boy), let's call him Bob, stole a chemical that had been prepared for an experiment. It was pretty harmless but Bob thought it could be dangerous (starch).
Afterward Bob poured the content of the tube in a water jug during lunch. This time it wasn't dangerous and it was noticed before anyone drank from it. The headmaster is inclined to let this go with detention.
My mother on the other hand does not want this guy in her class again. She has some pretty nasty stuff like hydrochloric acid (not pure and she is planning on getting rid of it, but I mention it as an exemple). Even if nothing happened Bob did stole the starch thinking it could be dangerous. It's basically a poisoning attempt but he mistook the dangerous stuff with the harmless stuff.
She is very careful to lock away anything that could be dangerous when it's not in use. If it has to be used she is the only person allowed to run the experiment. Still, she can't keep track of 30+ students at once and she knows that someone dedicated enough could steal something.
She thinks that it's unfair to the other students to stop all experiments altogether because of one crazy guy. But at the same time she is both worried for her safety and the safety of her kinder students.
I have two questions regarding this event:
- Could she be liable if anything happened even though she is ultra careful?
- Should she stops running experiment with this class if she can't get Bob to leave the class?
Thanks for your answers!
Edit regarding accepted answer:
Given that she feels that the school is not giving her the means to safeguard her student from "extreme pranker" she decided that she'd just stop any experiment in classes with Bob. (Being liable is only a small part the issue here as she'd be devastated if one of her students was hurt). She hopes she can get some support from other parents. But it's not relative to law anymore as it's more highschool politics.