Safety Measures Reaffirmed in FCPS Chemistry Classes

(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

Ryan Clary, Staff Writer

The chemistry fire accident that occurred at Woodson High School on Friday, October 30, stunned and shocked the Fairfax County Public Schools community.  The injuries suffered by students and a staff member at Woodson have made everyone a little more aware of what can really happen during those science labs. People at Falls Church High School will be going over lab procedures once again in an effort to prevent tragic accidents like the one that occurred at Woodson.

Three sophomores who take chemistry recently shared their feelings with the Jagwire about the safety measures in place.  All three have a clear understanding, thanks to the professionalism of their teachers, that safety devices and procedures must be used.

Jason Darling (10) feels safe while conducting experiments, despite the recent accident.  “I feel safe in a chemistry lab because the experiments are designed to not fail. Also, it feels good to have a teacher that knows what she is doing and that I can trust her.”

Labs are a lot of fun, but you always have to put safety first. “I feel safe because of the existence of all the safety equipment like goggles, the eye wash station, the emergency shower, and fire extinguishers. I always have lots of fun during labs but I always put safety before anything else,” said Wyatt Cobb (10).

Labs are mostly hands-on activities and because they are, the experiments that happen there put a clear image in students’ minds of the kind of science they are doing.  Everything that the teachers do is made for us to be safe, as long as everyone follows the precautions for the lab experiment.

Katterine de Leon (10) agrees.  “I feel safe in a chemistry lab because goggles always help me and protect my eyes and if you spill a chemical, you tell the teacher to clean it up. I always follow the instructions directly from the teacher to help myself keep safe.”

Chemistry is a very fun class, but with that fun comes a requirement for responsibility.  Because many experiments with dangerous chemicals can poison you, burn you, or if mixed incorrectly, potentially cause a fire or an explosion, it is critically important to follow safety procedures, as these sophomores understand.

Falls Church High School is a great high school and a trustworthy one too. As a student, I trust the rules here and the students I interviewed agreed.  Fairfax County has taken this tragic accident and used it as a reminder that we all must continue to keep safety as our number one priority in chemistry classrooms, but that we can still have fun while doing so.