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Firewalking lesson where Norwegian teachers encouraged pupils to walk barefoot across hot coals puts seven of them in hospital
- Some of the injured students – all boys – had to be given morphine for the pain
- Parents were never consulted about the fire-walking ‘experiment’
A physics lesson in Norway where teachers encouraged teenage pupils to walk barefoot across hot coals went disastrously wrong when seven children ended up in hospital with burns.
An investigation has been launched after the fire-walking ‘experiment’ during a physics class, which parents say they were never consulted about.
Some of the injured students – all boys – had to be given morphine for the pain following the stunt, which their physics teacher and headmaster also participated in.
One parent of a 17-year-old student told MailOnline that the first they knew of the fire walk was when their son called from the school and had to be taken to hospital for 2nd degree burns and heavy blistering on the soles of his feet after walking on the 500C embers.
‘We were never consulted about this,’ said the parent, who declined to be named, ‘and the school seemed to brush off our objections by saying ‘the pupils all agreed’, which is not good enough.’
An investigation has been launched after the fire-walking ‘experiment’ during a physics class, which parents say they were never consulted about
Some of the injured students – all boys – had to be given morphine for the pain following the stunt, which their physics teacher and headmaster also participated in
Physics teacher Vidar Furholt (pictured) also participated in the fire-walking ‘experiment’
The headmaster Karl Roar Vigmostad (pictured), has announced an inquiry – into the fire walk he personally took part in
Now the headmaster of St Olav’s secondary school in Stavanger, Norway, Karl Roar Vigmostad, has announced an inquiry – into the fire walk he personally took part in.
A group of boys in the mixed physics class proposed the experiment to test a scientific phenomenon called the Leidenfrost effect, which some scientists believe occurs during firewalking.
At high temperatures, water vapour is said to form a protective layer, lessening the chance of injury but other experts believe water can make pieces of the burning embers stick to the soles of the feet.
In any case, according to one parent, the boys’ suggestion that they should dip their feet in cold water before stepping onto the coals was overruled at the last minute by physics teacher Vidar Furholt.
According to the parent, Mr Furholt, who performed the fire walk last, along with Mr Vigmostad, received blisters himself as a result, but made light of them the next day.
‘They also suggested in their proposal that a first aid kit should be on hand, but it wasn’t,’ said the parent. ‘The nearest one was in the headmaster’s office. We had to find a doctor to get approval to take our son to the hospital’s burns unit, where he was given a double dose of morphine.
‘The doctors said the blisters should heal, but the biggest fear is that they might become infected. In my opinion the school behaved very irresponsibly. It’s all been very upsetting.’
Headmaster Mr Vigmostad told local paper Stavanger Aftenblad following the incident on Thursday: ‘This went wrong – it’s not good. We take this episode seriously’.
He added: ‘It’s too early to say what happened. Our first priority was taking care of and following up the students.
‘We will investigate more closely and discover why it ended the way it did. There is much to learn from such an incident. ‘
He told the newspaper that no ambulance was called to the school and students were encouraged to see a doctor themselves and the school helped to facilitate that by contacting the local hospital.’
MailOnline contacted Mr Vigmostad for comment.