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Sticky student prank injures teacher

05:10 PM MST on Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Press-Enterprise

HEMET - A California High School student could face criminal charges after a prank involving an all-purpose adhesive injured a popular teacher.

Drama teacher Stacey Bailey was burned June 7 after she sat on Gorilla Glue, which can cause skin irritation. The student, whose name is not being released by authorities, was suspended, and school officials are considering expulsion, said Superintendent Phil Pendley.

Meanwhile, police are investigating possible criminal charges, said Hemet police Sgt. Mark Nipp.

"We consider this an assault," Pendley said. "We take this very seriously. It was totally inappropriate and we're looking for the greatest punishment we can exert."

Bailey said she has never been the target of a prank before.

Last week, she found more pain than humor in the incident. Bailey said she was preparing to input student grades in a computer when she felt a dampness. The adhesive soaked through her jeans, and by the time she got to the nurse, it was burning her skin. The adhesive caused some of the fabric to stick to her skin.

"It's like a really painful sunburn, except I'm sitting on it," Bailey said.

She said the injury would have been worse had school officials not been notified about the product that was used. They were preparing to remove the adhesive with acetone, which would have reacted with the glue and removed additional skin, she said.

"Like the saying goes, 'It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt,' " Bailey said. "The most disappointing thing for me is the fact that in spite of all these witnesses that came forward and said the student did it, he and his parents are not taking responsibility."

Drama students are upset about the incident.

"It's a terrible situation," said Krysta Smith, 15, a sophomore. "What was done was cruel and hurtful."

At the end of the school year, Chrystina Villanueva, 17, said, some students consider pranks. The senior said toilet paper can be funny, but anything that hurts or embarrasses someone or damages school property is not.

Pendley said students rarely harm teachers. He could recall two other incidents in the past five years.