Teacher’s Tesla Coil: Students Branded, No Charges In Assault, Battery Probe

According to the latest news on the teacher who used a Tesla coil to brand students in his classroom, no charges will be filed “at this time.” An Oregon prosecutor declined to sanction Samuel Dufner after his Tuesday arrest for an experiment on several high school student volunteers, citing a Fox News report.

The Marion County District Attorney’s Office was questioned about its role in declining to charge the science teacher for branding students. Details are scant, but a spokesperson said after prosecutors looked over the preliminary probable cause statement furnished by police, the decision was not to move ahead with charges. However, the “investigation is ongoing” and the status could change in the future.

According to a prior report by the Inquisitr, a parent became enraged over news that the teacher, using a Tesla coil, branded messages into her child’s skin. The angry parent then made a formal complaint to the school. Subsequent to that, the police opened their own investigation, which led to Dufner’s arrest. Shortly thereafter, he posted a $2,000 bond and was placed on administrative leave by the Oregon school district.

Sources say Dufner, 37, asked for volunteers at South Salem High School to take part in an experiment that showed how a Tesla coil can mark the skin. Students were then branded with the words, “I love mom,” with a heart used to symbolize the word “love.” According to Lt. Steve Birr, the branded messages have faded since the experiment. Initially, the teacher’s focus was to show how the contraption could ignite fuel for a rocket.

According to one student, nearly every classmate volunteered for the experiment, and no one appeared to be disturbed by the marks left on their skin. Cheyenne Ward, a 17-year-old junior and student aide at the Salem school, weighed in.

“He was making, like, smiley faces and stars, but some students wanted to see how long they could hold it there. Obviously, the longer he held it down the stronger the mark.

“Almost every student did it, and everyone was laughing when they went up there. Nobody was sad or upset. It didn’t hurt at all.”

Another student also downplayed the incident and said most of the class was excited about participating. Angelica Avdeyeva, 17, a student in the teacher’s marine science class, said many of her classmates shouldered blame for the incident.

“I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. He never wanted to hurt anybody, and I don’t think he should have been arrested. This is his career, you know? He has a family, and we all feel bad.”

In 1891, Nikola Tesla invented the apparatus that was used by the teacher to brand his students, which can transmit electricity without the use of wires. Currents move at high voltage and frequency levels. Although its use never made it to mainstream, it was popularized in classrooms in museums, especially for the buzzing sounds it emits.

Birr believes the teacher’s behavior in using the Tesla coil to brand the high school students amounted to a crime.

“By law he has a duty to protect them. He inflicted the burns and, in fact, assaulted them.”

This story is developing.

[Photo by Trixie Textor/Getty Images]