The first thing I would like to clear up is that there was no criminal intent on the part of Jonathan Strength, myself, or any other person working on the project. What happened Wednesday was a tragic accident.
The projects performed as part of my physics class have all been supervised and carried out with caution and the utmost concern for student safety. In the five months these projects have been going on, there have been no accidents or injuries. I have not had one single parent come by my classroom for a conference concerning the projects or so much as a phone call expressing concern.
I would also like to note that these experiments were not done in a corner. Knowledge of these projects was shared by administration and staff. On most occasions, several classes from other subjects were present during performance of the projects.
Jonathan Strength is one of the best students I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He is brilliant and innovative. I sometimes had to put the brakes on his zeal, but his enthusiasm was irrisistable. I love this young man with all my heart. He is destined for greatness.
In my own defense, I would like to point out the fact that the students that attended my classes this year had a 100% TAKS passing rate in Science, an area the school had previously recieved rather dismal marks.
Ultimately the blame for this accident has to fall on me. This was my baby. I saw something I hadn't seen in a long time. I saw excitement in students' eyes. I saw kids eager to come to my class and learn. They began to see that mathematics and formulas really do have real world implications. They saw the theory become real before their eyes. For me, this was eutopia and perhaps I was a little blinded.
I will likely resign from Winona ISD. I feel this will be in the best interest on the school at large. This is not any easy move for me in that I love those students I grew to know. They have seen large turnovers in the past and I know what they need now is stability. I would love to be with them next year with the forsight and wisdom I have gained from this year, but at this time, that doesn't seem possible.
In closing, I would just like to say Winona is one of the finest school districts I have worked for. I enjoyed my time there imensly. I found the administration suportive and cooperative with efforts teachers tried to make in improving the district. Mr. Rumbo and Mr. Fauccet are honest, hard working men who are doing everything they can to see that the vast improvements that have come to that school will not be diverted in any way by this tragedy.
For myself, in hindsight, there was no greater good or achievment that could be accomplished by my class or the school as a whole that was worth the loss of Jonathan Strength's hand. This will remain a tragedy, and hopefully one we will all learn from.
Physics Teacher, Winona High School