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May-05-2015 23:30printcomments

South Salem High School Science Teacher Arrested for Classroom Experiment

The arrest was as much a shock to students as to the teacher.

South Salem High School
South Salem High School
Photo: Salem-Keizer School District

(SALEM, Ore.) - A teacher from South Salem High School was arrested at the school Tuesday afternoon.

Sam Dufner is a science teacher, he was arrested on two counts of first degree criminal mistreatment involving students, according to Lt. Steve Birr of Salem Police.

His arrest stemmed from a classroom experiment which took place Thursday, April 30, Birr confirmed.

One student that was in the class told Salem-News.com that the students agreed to participate in the experiment. Apparently parents were not notified.

The experiment had to do with "shocking kids with a frequency machine", according to students; that he used "an electric shock tattoo thing on a whole bunch of kids in his classes, with their permission". Apparently he first pretended to touch a hand, and then the kids agreed to and maybe encouraged the contact. Some students say that the machine left a mark.

Dufner was arrested at the school Tuesday around 1 p.m. and taken to the Marion County jail.

One person commented, "These are teenagers, I'm sure if they didn't want to participate in feeling the shock they didn't have to, this is blown out of proportion."

Still, this is why permission forms exist. People under 18 cannot give consent.

A past student of Dufner remarked on facebook, "He's a really kickass and nice teacher though. Would be sad to see him fired for something silly like that, he actually made science a fun hands on experience."

Lt. Birr said they will continue to investigate, and more information will be released by the department on Wednesday.

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Tom May 6, 2015 6:26 pm (Pacific time)

Is the statement "Still, this is why permission forms exist. People under 18 cannot give consent." an editorial comment? Science classes are for exploration and teachers can differentiate between an innocuous experiment and one that can cause harm. Perhaps the name of the "angry" parent should be published so his/her life can be upended as has been done to Mr. Dufner.

 EDITOR:  In Oregon, the "Age of majority" is 18, when a parent's legal control and responsibility for a child ends. Legal emancipation by the court can take place at age 16, and in that case, they would be able to sign their own permission note....before age 18.


Anonymous May 6, 2015 4:54 pm (Pacific time)

This is beyond stupid. I'm a student of his and I'm very distracted by this whole thing. He may not be my favorite teacher but I feel so bad for him. Kids agreed to it and I highly doubt he had attentions of leaving marks. I hope to see him back. Screw the parents for over reacting and ruining a teachers, fathers and husbands life and job.


Obi May 6, 2015 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

Yet another perfect example of ruining a great teachers! Ability to teach.


Michelle B May 6, 2015 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

Yes, students cannot give consent if they are under 18 but when was the last time parents received permission slips for experiments. Chemistry deals with harsh chemicals that can burn skin for example.


Mark Harmony May 6, 2015 12:14 pm (Pacific time)

100% blown out of proportion, I hope the parents of these kid's feel big and strong for lying and ruining a man's life.


Anonymous May 6, 2015 10:39 am (Pacific time)

This is all blown out of proportion Sam Dufner is a great teacher and should be let go. Or we will riot

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