Oregon Teacher Branded Students, But Charges Have Been Dropped

When you send your kids to school in the morning, you expect them to come home with knowledge and stories and even homework. But what happens if they come home and you realize the teacher has actually branded students? That’s what happened in one town in Oregon.

South Salem High School teacher, Samuel Dufner, actually branded students with “I (heart) Mom” during what the New York Daily News refers to as “a bizarre classroom experiment.”

Dufner was arrested Tuesday, but police have said that charges have yet to be pressed for what police termed “criminal mistreatment,” according to KOIN News.

The 37-year-old teacher branded students using a tesla coil in order to “demonstrate chemical reactions during a lesson last week.” The Tesla coil “transmits electricity without wires at high-frequency and high-voltage levels” producing the branded effect.

Dufner first branded himself to show the reaction and then asked if any students wanted to volunteer.

Aminna Ackridge, a student in Dufner’s class, said, “He took like the probe and he touched my hand and I pulled my hand away and it was done…It hurt me a little bit, but as soon as I pulled my hand away the pain was gone.”

Some students asked Dufner to hold the coil on them longer to make it look like they had been branded.

Cheyenne Ward spoke about the students wanting to be branded, saying, “He was making, like, smiley faces and stars, but some students wanted to see how long they could hold it there…Almost every student did it, and everyone was laughing when they went up there.”

Police told KOIN News that “it was a complaint from a parent that got their investigation started.”

Salem police lieutenant Steve Birr explained, “By law he has a duty to protect them…He inflicted the burns and, in fact, assaulted them.”

Despite the “assault” and “criminal mistreatment,” charges have not been filed because, as Birr said, “On Tuesday while we were investigating, you couldn’t see the burn marks on their arms.”

Police admit that “it was a lapse in judgment on Dufner’s part, and that in his effort to inform kids about science, he may have forgotten about his lawful duty to protect them.”

Students took to Twitter to show support for the teacher who branded them, using the hashtag #freedufner.

While it appears that all involved are not showing any lasting scars, this story serves as a cautionary tale of what could happen to the teacher who branded students.

[Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News]