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Pittsburgh teacher resigns after 5-year-old suffers severe burns during science experiment

PITTSBURGH — The kindergarten teacher who oversaw a science experiment that left a 5-year-old girl with severe burns has resigned.

She got the burns at King PreK-8 school on Pittsburgh’s North Side as a result of a science experiment involving boiling water, her family said.

Pittsburgh Public Schools conducted an investigation over the past few weeks, and it ended with the teacher’s resignation. That teacher has not been officially identified or charged.

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“She’s very articulate... has informed us that through some kind of project that occurred at the school, she sustained a second and/or third-degree burns," said attorney Todd Hollis, who is representing the family. "The young lady is going through some very obvious signs of trauma, so we’ve assisted in putting her into some therapy. As time goes on, hopefully she’ll be able to get the assistance that she needs.”

Hollis said the family found out about the child’s burns through a phone call from someone at the school saying the girl had sustained “minor burns" -- but they were actually a lot worse.

When asked if the teacher’s resignation will change the pending lawsuit at all, Hollis said no and that it will “proceed as lawsuits proceed.”

“I’m hoping that my client gets the help that she needs,” said Hollis. “I’m hoping that she heals. Obviously, her being such a young child it’s going to be a long growth process for her.”

He didn’t specify whether the family plans to sue the teacher and the school district or just the district.