No title

There are 104 comments on the Akron Beacon Journal story from Jan 25, 2008, titled No title. In it, Akron Beacon Journal reports that:

The scream she could not make. The coolness of the bricks where she lay when the pain finally came.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Akron Beacon Journal.

dMP07

Lewisburg, PA

#89 Jan 28, 2008
cmon now wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't think that applies here. Calais does not bear any responsibility for the actions that took place. And she seems like a responsible girl. She is planning on going into medicine. I don't get the impression that she's some sort of Paris Hilton wannabe. She went through an ordeal that hopefully none of us will ever have to, and this probably made her grow up faster than she should.
You're absolutely right in saying that Calais does not bear any responsibility for the actions that took place - on the day of the fire. It was an accident and she was a victim. She and her family are responsible, however, for their actions in the months and years after that day. It's sad that she will no longer pursue modeling if that was her true ambition, but this article seems to suggest that her ambition was to be a surgeon all along? I'm fairly certain that it's intelligence that decides the fate of a hopeful doctor, not appearance. I hope our society isn't that superficial. It's a shame that the family obviously took an offensive stance against the teacher and is still trying to paint a picture of her as a bad woman two years after the accident. Clearly they have either missed their calling during this difficult time for Calais (they should have focused their energy on supporting her, rather than attacking the teacher and the school) or they're simply evil people who are out to get "revenge" for something that was an accident in the first place.
I see no point in hiding. My name is Mike Pratt, and my mother is the teacher referred to in this article. I was present in the room during the fire, as I was a student in the class, so I witnessed firsthand what happened that day. I'm away at school right now, so my comments are not on behalf of my family, but rather as an insulted student and son.
Over the past two years my mother, my brother Sam and my family have been through the same trying times that the Weber family has endured. The only difference is that we have had to defend ourselves against constant attacks (like this article) from the Weber family. There are quotes in this story that are simply untrue and seem to be added in an effort to paint a seriously negative picture of my mom.
(see above)
dmp07

Lewisburg, PA

#90 Jan 28, 2008
1. Sam’s comment was not that the red dish was “going out” but rather that it was extinguished. The flame definitely appeared to have gone out.(Our class was interrogated in the week following the accident by the Hudson Fire Department and the class was split 50/50 over whether or not the dish was still burning.) My mom kept container of methanol was kept well away from the flames as the dishes were being lit as a safety precaution. She only moved to refill the dish because it appeared to be burnt out. She did not simply pour fire onto an open flame. It is likely that a flame was still burning invisibly in the dish (as, I have learned, methanol is known to do).
2. My mother NEVER yelled for the class to “run.” This statement is insulting. While some of the class did run, most sprang into action helping one another. My mom and I remained in the room. I know this for a fact, because for the past 2 years I have had intermittent nightmares of my little brother screaming for his life and my mom screaming “Mike HELP SAM IS ON FIRE.” That’s exactly what I did. I wrapped my brother in my school blazer in an effort to put out the flames. They were finally extinguished by other science faculty members when they came to our aid (Two of whom are registered paramedics). My mom was in the room the entire time (remember that she was on fire from the hand to her elbow on one arm). It is an outrage to suggest that she abandoned the class.
3. My brother was NOT given morphine in the ambulance. This article suggests that Calais was further victimized in the ambulance by being denied morphine. At the time, it was illegal for paramedics to administer morphine to minors in an ambulance, regardless of parental consent (I believe the policy has since changed).
Mike07

Lewisburg, PA

#91 Jan 28, 2008
There are several, less important details that I don’t care to argue, as they’re less objective. The amount of money the Weber’s received in settlement is also of no interest to me. If 13.5 million dollars is what they think their daughter’s physical appearance is worth, so be it.

Sam has been through similar physical trauma, yet he has not changed a bit. I know from witnessing Sam’s experiences firsthand that people are understanding. Heck, he returned to school just two days after getting out of the hospital despite the fact that he was still wearing burn dressings on his head, his left arm and his torso. His reaction to this traumatic experience has been nothing short of an inspiration for me. The contrast of his actions to the actions taken by the Weber family (in trying to have my mom fired, in making sure that my mother could not be present on school grounds while Calais was present and most importantly in the actions of this joke journalist who continues to write attacking stories two years after the accident) makes me love my little brother that much more. It is noteworthy that the Chen family has been completely different. They spoke to our family while we were in the hospital, accepted my mother’s apologies and concerns, and were generally reasonable all along. I understand why lawsuits were filed, but it did not need to be done maliciously.

This article paints a picture of my mother as an absent-minded woman who cares little for her students. This is outrageous. I was a student in class and I watched outside of class how my mother handled herself. She took the phone calls of students needing extra help as late as 11:30 at night every night of the week. She was available at nearly any time to help students. As an academic advisor to several students, I distinctly remember her getting up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to travel to the hospital to support an ill student who was one of her advisees. I remember days where students in other chemistry classes would come to our house in the evening for extra help – even when my mom had other things that she needed to get done. My mother’s students love her. During my freshman year at Reserve, a faculty member in the chemistry department left the school on maternity leave. My mom, a well educated and certified teacher with past teaching experience at several other schools, was brought in to fill the spot while the teacher was on leave. At the end of the year, the teacher decided not to return to Reserve, instead seeking a school with less of a time commitment so that she could spend time with her new baby. My mom was hired not because of a lack of qualified candidates, but because more than a dozen of her “temporary” students had separately commented to Reserve administration during the course of the half year on how spectacular of a teacher my mom had been. This article even points out how much Calais loved the class prior to the accident. If you need other opinions about my mom’s teaching, just ask her past students. I guarantee that nearly all of them will give her glowing remarks.

It’s time that the Weber family lets this horrible day go to rest and time that they go on with their lives. Look at the positive things, like we have. Calais is still alive, and if you actually love her then she is still beautiful. By continually attacking my mom and the school you’re essentially saying that your anger means more to you than your daughter. Please – this was a horrible thing that we all wish had never happened. Nothing you can do at this point will reverse the past.
Sue

Moses Lake, WA

#92 Jan 29, 2008
As a former Akronite, I check the online ABJ fairly often to try to keep up with the local happenings. I was glad to see this story for the update but extremely disappointed to see how biased it was.

Certainly the ABJ could have found someone without a close personal connection to Calais to write the story but chose not to. Many of the sniping comments on this forum could have been avoided had a more balanced piece been published.

Thank you Mike Pratt for clarifying details of the accident. I wish ALL that were involved in this unfortunate incident the best.

And could everyone else just do the same and let people move on with their lives.
Good For You

Cleveland, OH

#93 Jan 29, 2008
Mike07 wrote:
The contrast of his actions to the actions taken by the Weber family (in trying to have my mom fired, in making sure that my mother could not be present on school grounds while Calais was present and most importantly in the actions of this joke journalist who continues to write attacking stories two years after the accident) makes me love my little brother that much more. It is noteworthy that the Chen family has been completely different. They spoke to our family while we were in the hospital, accepted my mother’s apologies and concerns, and were generally reasonable all along. I understand why lawsuits were filed, but it did not need to be done maliciously.
This article paints a picture of my mother as an absent-minded woman who cares little for her students. This is outrageous. I was a student in class and I watched outside of class how my mother handled herself. She took the phone calls of students needing extra help as late as 11:30 at night every night of the week. She was available at nearly any time to help students. As an academic advisor to several students, I distinctly remember her getting up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to travel to the hospital to support an ill student who was one of her advisees. I remember days where students in other chemistry classes would come to our house in the evening for extra help – even when my mom had other things that she needed to get done. My mother’s students love her. During my freshman year at Reserve, a faculty member in the chemistry department left the school on maternity leave. My mom, a well educated and certified teacher with past teaching experience at several other schools, was brought in to fill the spot while the teacher was on leave. At the end of the year, the teacher decided not to return to Reserve, instead seeking a school with less of a time commitment so that she could spend time with her new baby. My mom was hired not because of a lack of qualified candidates, but because more than a dozen of her “temporary” students had separately commented to Reserve administration during the course of the half year on how spectacular of a teacher my mom had been. This article even points out how much Calais loved the class prior to the accident. If you need other opinions about my mom’s teaching, just ask her past students. I guarantee that nearly all of them will give her glowing remarks.
It’s time that the Weber family lets this horrible day go to rest and time that they go on with their lives. Look at the positive things, like we have. Calais is still alive, and if you actually love her then she is still beautiful. By continually attacking my mom and the school you’re essentially saying that your anger means more to you than your daughter. Please – this was a horrible thing that we all wish had never happened. Nothing you can do at this point will reverse the past.
I am thrilled that you had the intelligence and concern for the truth enough to get on here and tell the real story. You rmother must be very proud of you. From the start, it seemed to me that your mother was more of a victim thatanyone do the the Weber's overzealous attack of her and their neverending pursuit of the almoghty dollar. Why they cannopt accept that accidents happen rather than point their often-times dishonest finger of blame is beyond me.
Your mother was treated extremely unfairly in this article. I strongly urge you to take this one step further and send your post as a letter to the editor so that everyone, not just the people that reads these boards, will know the truth and who the real victim is. The Beacon's one-sided grossly biased story begs for setting the record staright and you have most certainly done that. Your ltitle brother is the true inspiration of this story. Bless you and your family. Stay strong and keep on the higher gorund. Maybe one day the sad Webers will follow.
holly

Akron, OH

#94 Jan 29, 2008
Oh Please wrote:
Thank you. I am glad someone else realizes that this is a unique situation in that her family has money, the author is her godmother for crying out loud. If this was a poor black kid from another city, we would not hear a word. And by the way, HOLLY, shut your mouth. I am not scary, you are just sheltered in your little town of Hudson. Go blow your money at First and Main. Come on downtown Akron and realized how the rest of the world lives in reality.
ACTUALLY, YOU REALLY ARE SCARY AND THE ANGRIEST PERSON HERE. OH, AND JUDGEMENTAL TOO.
finally

Elyria, OH

#96 Jan 29, 2008
Now why didnt the ABJ take the extra 5 minutes and talk to this this kid before they printed this fluff piece. I'm not a big WRA fan but the ABJ screwed them on this one.
The best point anyone on here made was the person who mentioned the young womens goal all along was to be a doctor, yet the fluff piece was all about how she wanted to be a model.
My beef is not with ALL of the victims but with the ABJ's one sided story.
Oh Please

Akron, OH

#97 Jan 29, 2008
Ok, HOLLY. Throw stones from your glass house. I am not angry and judgemental. How are you going through life being that naive?
OUTRAGED

Macedonia, OH

#98 Jan 30, 2008
Thanks Mike for comming out with your responses. I am rather close to your mom and did nothing but defend her after the accident. She is my softball coach at Reserve and even though I never had the pleasure of having her as my teacher, I know from others that she is a wonderful teacher. I have also seen that this accident hasn't affected Sam's personality..he is still the same as I knew before the accident. it is awful the way the Webers are treating your mom and this story is EXTREAMLY biased...i would love to reveal who I am but if the school discovered these posts I would definatly get in trouble...=(
Mike07

Lewisburg, PA

#99 Jan 30, 2008
Thanks for your support. I know my mom especially appreciates it.
LEAVE TOWN NOW

AOL

#100 Jan 30, 2008
TO MIKE07, GLAD TO SEE YOUR ARTICLE, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THERE WERE MORE THAN JUST ONE VICTIM OF THIS ACCIDENT, YOUR FAMILY INCLUDED. WISH ALL PARTIES INVOLVED A SPEEDY RECOVERY.
Oh Please

Akron, OH

#101 Feb 10, 2008
Damn, she needs to eat some cheeseburgers.She looks nasty skinny in those modeling pictures! Can we say anorexia?!
too funny

Loudonville, OH

#102 Feb 10, 2008
Mike07 wrote:
There are several, less important details that I don’t care to argue, as they’re less objective. The amount of money the Weber’s received in settlement is also of no interest to me. If 13.5 million dollars is what they think their daughter’s physical appearance is worth, so be it.
Sam has been through similar physical trauma, yet he has not changed a bit. I know from witnessing Sam’s experiences firsthand that people are understanding. Heck, he returned to school just two days after getting out of the hospital despite the fact that he was still wearing burn dressings on his head, his left arm and his torso. His reaction to this traumatic experience has been nothing short of an inspiration for me. The contrast of his actions to the actions taken by the Weber family (in trying to have my mom fired, in making sure that my mother could not be present on school grounds while Calais was present and most importantly in the actions of this joke journalist who continues to write attacking stories two years after the accident) makes me love my little brother that much more. It is noteworthy that the Chen family has been completely different. They spoke to our family while we were in the hospital, accepted my mother’s apologies and concerns, and were generally reasonable all along. I understand why lawsuits were filed, but it did not need to be done maliciously.
This article paints a picture of my mother as an absent-minded woman who cares little for her students. This is outrageous. I was a student in class and I watched outside of class how my mother handled herself. She took the phone calls of students needing extra help as late as 11:30 at night every night of the week. She was available at nearly any time to help students. As an academic advisor to several students, I distinctly remember her getting up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to travel to the hospital to support an ill student who was one of her advisees. I remember days where students in other chemistry classes would come to our house in the evening for extra help – even when my mom had other things that she needed to get done. My mother’s students love her. During my freshman year at Reserve, a faculty member in the chemistry department left the school on maternity leave. My mom, a well educated and certified teacher with past teaching experience at several other schools, was brought in to fill the spot while the teacher was on leave. At the end of the year, the teacher decided not to return to Reserve, instead seeking a school with less of a time commitment so that she could spend time with her new baby. My mom was hired not because of a lack of qualified candidates, but because more than a dozen of her “temporary” students had separately commented to Reserve administration during the course of the half year on how spectacular of a teacher my mom had been. This article even points out how much Calais loved the class prior to the accident. If you need other opinions about my mom’s teaching, just ask her past students. I guarantee that nearly all of them will give her glowing remarks.
It’s time that the Weber family lets this horrible day go to rest and time that they go on with their lives. Look at the positive things, like we have. Calais is still alive, and if you actually love her then she is still beautiful. By continually attacking my mom and the school you’re essentially saying that your anger means more to you than your daughter. Please – this was a horrible thing that we all wish had never happened. Nothing you can do at this point will reverse the past.
Thank you for your comments here, Mike. I figured there was much more to the story. Cardwell is almost always biased and nauseating with her phoney sweetness.
Mrs Pratts student

Macedonia, OH

#103 Feb 17, 2008
I am an avid reader of the ABJ and I was shocked to see such a biased article in the paper. Mrs. Pratt is one of the most caring, intelligent teachers that I have ever had and I am proud to be one of her Chem students. I am in her Comprehensive Chemistry class and sit in the front row just like Calais. However, I feel no fear because Mrs. Pratt is a responsible teacher who deeply loves Chemistry and instills the same love in her students.
Mrs. Pratt and her family were also hurt. Calais Weber was always a distant figure to me because of her beauty and "model status". However, she is an intelligent girl who will make it in the world whether she is pretty or not. We, as students, worked so hard to help Calais. We made a quilt with our own hands and sent her lettera and e-mails. It is not our fault that she lost all her friends. Calais had everything. She is beautiful, highly intelligent, and extremely popular. She was a prefect. Freshman girls both envied and admired her. Some called the accident karma, but no matter how you look at it that is what it was: an accident.
I am very disappointed in the columnist who wrote this article. Reporters need to give the whole story.
Smiley

Akron, OH

#104 Feb 17, 2008
From a former Akronite wrote:
Calais, God can through some heavy punches at us, and this was one for you. Think how your priorities have changed and know that you may be scared on the outside,(with treatment this can improve), but on the inside you have gained much wisdom, something you can share with others. When you become overwhelmed and do not know what to do, in any situation, just pray for God to show you the way, then be open and receptive to his answer. I'm sorry you had to experience all of this.
You are a wonderful, brave young woman; you will be in my prayers. Best of luck in the future.
God would not do this!! You forget about Lucifer? He still here!
Facts Do Not Lie

Akron, OH

#105 Feb 19, 2008
This Mrs. Pratt is very lucky she is not in jail. This is no accident! An accident is when you follow all the rules, especially SAFETY RULES, and something unexpected happens. It's NEGLIGENCE when you let vapors in the classroom for 40 min prior to the experiment. Then Pratt calls the children around her desk and doesn't instruct them to maintain a proper distance, not even using a hood. Next she let's her 11 yr. old son, basically do the experiment, throwing matches on methenol dishes, with a gallon jug full in the sink attached to the desk, inches away from open flames. This boy should have never been in the classroom to begin with, if he hadn't have been this would not have happened. Pratt, after her son's concerns over the flame going down, pours an almost full gallon jug of methonal onto an open flame, yet another rule broken. No gallon size jug of methonal was even allowed in the classroom during the experiment, only the amount used for the experiment should have been in there. Pratt followed NO school policies, NO state laws, NO COMMON SENSE, and very little training, if any, for this experiment. What little she learned she did not follow. Now I have to ask myself why this teacher is still teaching Chemistry and still at this school. The school dosen't seem to have problem when it comes to covering things up. So, ask yourself; they hire a preverted Math teacher, which they did fire him after he was arrested last year. Did you read or see it on the new? Only one day, they tried to cover that up the same way they tried to cover this up! What is mentally wrong with a teacher who could go back and teach at the same school or any other after almost killing her students. This school accepts NEGLIGENCE and ended up paying financially and stated it was a fair settlement. I would think the school accepts this because they are responsible for hiring and NOT firing, Pratt. The school also kept her out of jail, and again I say cover up!
This is not a biased story in the newspaper, only to Western Reserve and the Pratt family writing a lot, if not all of the negative comments on the blogs. Haven't you hurt these two girl's enough. Reading this story is about a tragedy that happened to a 15 yr. old, who almost died and through all the pain and suffering is trying to mend her mind and body which are scarred forever. And Mike, you write a nice story, you can have all your friends and family write all the comments they want, but the facts are the FACTS and you can't change that!!!!!!!!
Facts Do Not Lie

Akron, OH

#106 Feb 19, 2008
PS Mike do me a favor and take a trip to the courthouse and look up your mom's sworn deposition and Flannigan's. They are public record. I think after you have the facts your story might be a little different.
A Mom in Akron

Kent, OH

#107 Feb 20, 2008
You may think it is a petty lawsuit but I do not. How dare you forgive an accident that maimed a student? She lost her life on that day. Accident or not she had to go through the torturous BURN UNIT. She had to suffer the horror of debridement of her skin with minimal pain killers. She had to suffer the horror of people staring and picking burned flesh off of her naked body day after day and this was just to survive. An accident...No, No,No not!!!.There can be NO ACCIDENTS such as this among ANY school children. She should have brought a bazooka gun to school and shot the injured children. It would have been less painful and the culpability would have been the same. 1 million dollars does not cover the medical expenses let alone the needs for the rest of her life. Her medical bills are probably over 1 million now. Do you know the Rights of Subrogation? That means any money recovered in a lawsuit has to repay all insurance monies spent on the patient. This means she didn't collect ____!!She has to pay back the insurance company that footed the bill. What is left for her pain and suffering? Nothing. Not a very fair jury award to me. I would have voted Western Reserve CLOSED and sold all of their assetts to pay the injured students. Yes, teachers are supposed to turn lesson plans in, however, it is a complacent Principal that doesn't read them. Our children are the future of our world. Their lives should never be compromised by any teacher. The teacher should have been fired. The school should have done "the right thing" without having a lawsuit.The teachers son should stop writing on this blog defending his mother because we will never buy it. It was no accident!! Your mother is a killer. She is not entitled to forgiveness for her negligence. If this would have happened in a home (and I am a licensed foster parent) Children's Services would have brought her up on charges. All too often Teachers get away with something that would put a parent in jail. Why is that? I have often found situations where I am sad to be an American. This is one of them. Our country is NOT the best country in the world. It is severely flawed. We need to change our politics and start taking the right road again. We need to care about people not taxes or tax cuts. I would gladly pay 50% of my income to have a world that is found in Denmark where all students go to school for free(EVEN COLLEGE). Where all people are taken care of with hospital care when sick, pensions for parents to be,pensions for the sick and no chance to lose your home if you become ill. I would move to Denmark if I could but you just cannot claim citizenship because you want to. We can have that right here if we control our politics. Fire the teacher, Give the injured child a lifelong pension commiserate with her lifelong injury and loss. That would be well over 1 million dollars. I would appeal this decision and hope that the Supreme Court has the balls to dish it out to Mrs Pratt and Western Reserve. I am not proud to be an American today and you shouldn't be either. From a Very Concerned Mom
Mrs Pratts student

Macedonia, OH

#108 Feb 22, 2008
Why would you close Western Reserve Academy? It is a wonderful place and we students work very hard to be here. I found this forum on my own accord. I was only a freshman when the accident happened, but I now have Mrs. Pratt as a teacher. The reason I chose to come to Western Reserve was because of the poor standards at my own public school. At Reserve not only am I learning to be independent, but I'm looking at some fabulous colleges. My mother would never withdraw me from this place. Teachers are given more free reign, it is true, but the classes are so much better when a teacher is not tied down by benchmarks and standardized tests. DO NOT put the gifted kids back into the public schools. If you want us to be the future then give us the tools to learn, not a 4.2 GPA inflated by absurd amounts of extra credit.
ElitistNotGifted

Whitman, MA

#109 Feb 23, 2008
Mrs Pratts student wrote:
Why would you close Western Reserve Academy? It is a wonderful place and we students work very hard to be here. I found this forum on my own accord. I was only a freshman when the accident happened, but I now have Mrs. Pratt as a teacher. The reason I chose to come to Western Reserve was because of the poor standards at my own public school. At Reserve not only am I learning to be independent, but I'm looking at some fabulous colleges. My mother would never withdraw me from this place. Teachers are given more free reign, it is true, but the classes are so much better when a teacher is not tied down by benchmarks and standardized tests. DO NOT put the gifted kids back into the public schools. If you want us to be the future then give us the tools to learn, not a 4.2 GPA inflated by absurd amounts of extra credit.
Please. Very, very few of WRA's students could be described as "gifted." Being able to swing $35K a year for high school does not correlate with either talent or intelligence. The vast majority of gifted students attend public schools.

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