Oregon Teacher Burned Messages Into Kids’ Arms With A Tesla Coil

An Oregon teacher allegedly burned images into students’ arms using a Tesla coil, the Oregonian is reporting.

The shocking crime took place at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, a city of about 50,000 people, some 50 miles south of Portland.

Police say Samuel David “Sam” Dufner was teaching a high school science lesson about the Tesla coil and, in order to teach the teens about the Tesla coil’s ability to burn, asked for volunteers. An unknown number of students volunteered, and the teacher used electricity from the device to burn the message “I [Heart Symbol] Mom” on the students’ arms.

An angry parent complained, which then got the police involved, according to KCPQ (Seattle). He was arrested at the high school without incident, and released from jail after posting $2,000 bond. He was also placed on administrative leave by the school district.

The Tesla coil, invented in 1891 by legendary inventor Nikola Tesla, was conceived as a means of wirelessly transmitting electricity. It never panned out in a practical sense, but the device, which shoots arcs of electricity into the air while making a satisfying buzzing sound, remains a fixture of science museums and classrooms.

[Fast-forward to 1:15 for the cool part.]

Science blogger Don Klipstein notes that the Tesla coil, like any electrical device, should be treated with the utmost respect.

“The main hazard specific to spark gap Tesla coils is the primary circuit. This can electrocute you. Neon sign transformers and sometimes oil burner transformers are often used for these. There is some popular misinformation around that these won’t kill you, but they can… people sometimes die from getting shocked by these things. And with capacitors added to this which spark gap Tesla coils normally have, the effects of getting shocked are worse. One more thing — although having someone nearby who knows CPR or who has a defibrillator handy is good, the success rate is less than 100 percent.”

None of the students who were burned by the Oregon teacher’s Tesla coil appear to have suffered any lasting damage, according to Salem Police Department spokesperson Steve Birr.

“By and large, the burns aren’t bad at all… But one student’s arm is a little swollen and red. I think this Tesla coil demonstration shows a lack of judgment. This not the crime of the century, but we expect more from our teachers.”

Do you believe the science teacher who burned his students with a Tesla coil deserves to be punished? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/EZbackgrounds]