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Principal of school where boy was badly burned in a chemistry experiment cries in court

The principal of a school where a boy was badly burned during a botched chemistry experiment in 2014 wept in court on Monday as she had to recall the incident.

Alonzo Yanes, now 21, was severely burned in 2014 while taking part in an experiment at The Beacon School in Manhattan. 

He was a teenager at the time and was left with burns to 30 percent of his body. 

Now, Yanes is suing the school for $27million claiming his burns have left him so unhappy and with such low confidence that he has never had had sex. 

On Monday, principal Ruth Lacey was called to the stand to testify. 

 

Alonzo Yanes was left severely burned after a botched experiment in a 2014 chemistry class at Manhattan's Beacon High School

Ruth Lacey, the principal of The Beacon School, cried on Monday on the stand

It is not yet known what she said but photographs of her weeping in the witness box emerged.   

Last week, Yanes testified himself.   

‘The way that I look, it gets in the way too much. I don’t think the scars are very attractive,’ the 21-year-old told the courtroom. 

Yanes sustained third-degree burns to 30 percent of his body, including his face, when he was engulfed in a fireball when Poole was conducting a ‘Rainbow Experiment’ at The Beacon School, a selective public prep-school located in Hell’s Kitchen. 

Lacey was somber as she took the stand on Monday. Yanes is suing the school fro $27million

Lacey was somber as she took the stand on Monday. Yanes is suing the school fro $27million

The principal is one of several teaches who has taken the stand for the trial

The principal is one of several teaches who has taken the stand for the trial 

He is suing for $27million in a civil suit.  

On the stand, he also revealed that he has never got used to people ‘gawking’ at him in the five years since the accident. 

‘I will never get used to that. It still hurts tremendously,’ he stated. 

The former student further stated that he often takes off his glasses so that he can not see people staring at him.  

‘The world wasn’t very accepting of the way that I physically looked,’ he said. 

Yanes then painfully told the court: ‘Not a single day passes by when I don’t think about my injuries or what my life would have been if I wasn’t involved in that injury.’ 

Alonzo is pictured before the incident

Alonzo Yanes was seen in public for the very first time Tuesday after he was hit by a fireball during the 2014 incident at Beacon High School

Yanes was 16 at the time of the accident. He is pictured at left before the incident, and at right on Friday

'Not a single day passes by when I don’t think about my injuries or what my life would have been,' Yanes told the court

‘Not a single day passes by when I don’t think about my injuries or what my life would have been,’ Yanes told the court

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a expert testified that chemistry teacher Poole ignored safety protocols.  

Samuella Sigmann, a professor at Appalachian State University, said that the ‘Rainbow Experiment’ should never have been conducted. 

She said the lack of a fume hood – a ventilated enclosure in a chemistry laboratory, in which harmful volatile chemicals can be used or kept – amounted to ‘willful negligence.’

Samuella Sigmann

Anna Poole

The ‘Rainbow Experiment’ that Anna Poole was conducting when Alonzo Yanes was set on fire, leaving him with third degree burns across 30 percent of his body ‘should never have been done’ said Samuella Sigmann, a professor at Appalachian State University

Chemistry teacher Poole is pictured at far right arriving in court on Friday

Chemistry teacher Poole is pictured at far right arriving in court on Friday

‘Because they did not have the proper equipment to do it.

‘There was a clear and present hazard and they ignored it. The risk was very high,’ Sigmann added, the New York Post reported.

Listing a catalogue of failures, Sigmann said that the classroom lacked a fire blanket, shower or eyewash, while Poole herself admitted in the deposition that she had never used a fire extinguisher before.

The court heard that although Poole was wearing goggles, her students were not. 

And the teenagers – who should have been at least 8 feet away away from the demonstration table, were also sitting too close, with Yanes,  just two to three feet away, the expert added.       

The court heard that although Poole was wearing goggles, her students were not. She is pictured at right on Friday

The court heard that although Poole was wearing goggles, her students were not. She is pictured at right on Friday

Poole was demonstrating a chemical reaction to the class, the court heard, and is accused of pouring flammable liquid from a fume-filled container onto a lit crucible. 

Poole had been carrying out the ‘Rainbow Experiment’, where mineral salts are burned to produce multicolored flames, the court heard. 

Yanes previously told the court: ‘She poured the methanol into a container, and then without any warning, there was a big whoosh sound — a giant fireball had erupted from the jug. I saw flashes of blue and orange. I heard my classmates go, ‘Whoa! and scream.

‘I reflexively put my arms out to kind of shield myself from the flames that were shooting out towards me.’   

Images of the horrific injuries sustained by Alonzo were shown to jurors Monday.  

His mom, Yvonne, had earlier told jurors how she was forced to warn her daughter that her brother’s appearance had changed after he suffered third degree burns when he was hit by the flames.  

A tearful Yvonne, 51, said she told Yanes younger sister Alana, who was seven at the time of the incident,that her brother ‘did not look the same anymore’.

She recalled she said: ‘He will probably look very scary to you. He will probably look like a monster, like Frankenstein.

Images of the injuries sustained by Yanes were shown to jurors Monday

Images of the injuries sustained by Yanes were shown to jurors Monday

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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