Teacher Allegedly Burned Students With Tesla Coil, Sparking Controversy

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

tesla-coilThe mysterious ways of a familiar high school institution, the Tesla Coil, once again has conjured another spectacle. A Salem, Oregon high school teacher was charged with the shocking crime of Criminal Mistreatment after allegedly employing the coil to burn sweet nothings into the arms of students

After an investigation, Salem Police arrested Samuel Dufner for the alleged crime at South Salem High School.

A Tesla Coil is an electrical device, specifically an electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. It produces high voltage, low current and high frequency alternating current electricity.

Samuel Dufner
Samuel Dufner

Salem Police reports allege that during a class demonstration of the coil, Dufner stated the arcs from the coil could also mark the skin. After asking for volunteers he then demonstrated this by zapping the words “I Love You Mom” along with a heart into their skin.

After the event a parent complained to police who thereafter began an investigation culminating with Mr. Dufner’s arrest. Lt. Birr of the Salem Police stated the burn marks began fading and several days later were almost gone.

Mr. Dufner posted a $2,000 bond. He remains on leave from the school.

By Darren Smith

Source: KOMO News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

35 thoughts on “Teacher Allegedly Burned Students With Tesla Coil, Sparking Controversy”

  1. Forgotwhoiam

    That would be a valid point if it wasn’t in actuality the fossil fuel, nuclear, and hydro producers of energy that are pulling the strings. In more advanced countries those conventional producers of energy have integrated solar and wind into their equations and are making bundles of cash, off of the ‘everyman’ plugged into their grids.

    The point isn’t whether or not we should be switching to renewable sources of energy. Only a fool would say that that is not the right thing to do. The point is that it can be done, the fat cats can do it, but they won’t. So, do you want to be dictated to by a coal mine owner or do you want to be dictated to by a wind farm, solar farm owner. One way or another it costs.

    The nation’s grid loses well in excess of 15% of the energy it transports due to the convoluted system resulting from the myriad of owners. There are unlimited funds waiting to create solar and thermal solar farms in areas that no one ever visits. The problem is the grid. No connection rights makes it not viable.

    If this country had half a brain it would consolidate and efficiently unify the grid and reduce the dependency on coal fired plants etc, etc, etc. But then that would be cheating the fat cats, right.

    As far as roof top aesthetics is concerned, that is subjective and has been handled. Most roof top installations look better than the naked asphalt shingle or torch down roof. There are hundreds of square miles of warehouse rooftops that could and should be solar farms.

  2. Another person burned by Tesla.

    Tesla maker, Elon Musk, is promoting batteries that facilitate residential electricity generation using rooftop solar panels.

    What he actually promotes is cheating of other ratepayers on the state regulated monopoly electricity grid. The mutual electricity companies that have efficiently provided electricity for over 100 years are mutually beneficial, concentrating and focusing cost and expenses and capturing “economies of scale” that 200 million houses and businesses can never hope to achieve as individuals. A mutual endeavor for electricity generation is by far the most efficient and cost effective method. A mutual arrangement requires a monopoly and compelled participation for the benefit of all like roads, water systems, sewer lines, railroad tracks, police, fire, military, etc. Mutually beneficial state-regulated compulsory monopolies is the most efficient method. Cheaters never prosper.

    Tesla maker, Musk, will cause the nation’s overall costs for electricity to increase exponentially by dispersing facilities and equipment and by exponentially increasing the number of personnel required for installation, maintenance, repair and administration nationwide.

    The “deal” that solar companies offer will collapse of its own weight for unforeseeable factors, that are the basis of current promises and projections, for dynamics and conditions that will substantially change over the multiple decades of the contracts.

    Electric cars and solar panels DO NOT save money, they REDIRECT money and people get fooled. For some reason, people love getting fooled. P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    The “carbon footprint” is also screened from public view. Electric cars, solar panels and those pollution infused batteries all begin at a mine. Everything from the steel to the lithium comes out of the ground at mines sites that pollute and are destructive to the environment. Electricity that powers cars is generated by oil, gas, hydraulic and nuclear power. The more electricity used, the more these sources of energy are used to generate electricity to charge electric vehicles. Pollution and environmental destruction permeates the process of manufacturing and operating “distributed generation” or rooftop solar panel and battery storage systems.

    If those “evil” utilities are refusing to use solar and “alternative energy” sources, it is no more complex than the state directing the state-regulated monopoly electricity utility to do so. Had solar generation been efficient, utilities would have employed it 100 years ago. If solar generation were efficient, “solar farms” would have sprung up and hidden out in the desert long ago. There is one little problem with “alternative” solar generation, it is not efficient. And how about the civic aesthetic. America took many decades to finally get utility equipment underground and out of sight. It’s baaaack! Right there for all to see on rooftops.

    Stop the cheaters.

    Reinforce the grid.

    No more Tesla burn victims.

  3. Is talking w/ yourself normal? I mean we all have conversations in our heads. But, creating multiple characters, up to 17 in one day, and conversing amongst yourself, w/ those make believe people, I think that’s whacky. But, if a person is friendless and alienates everyone around them, I guess that is a way to appear to be normal.

  4. Although the teacher was justly not prosecuted, Michael should be charged w/ Felony Excessive Pun. I think he may be a repeat offender.

  5. I am sure the students found his class simply shocking. Usually the best teachers find ways to zap energy into their students. The teacher managed to stun some students with his electric presence. I’ll bet the principal found the off switch for his high frequency emissions.

  6. Here is what we did to bad Principals and teachers back in Ferguson when I was a human in a prior life back in the 60s. Take a paper shopping back from Krogers and get some lighter fluid and a lighter. Fill the bag with poop. Not dog poop, real nasty human poop. Squirt lighter fluid on the bag and place it on the front porch of the Principal’s front door. Light the bag, ring the door bell and run to a location where you can watch in some hidden view. When he comes out he will stomp and the bag and the poop will go all over and that includes him. Kids today who don’t know about this maneuver need some guidance.

  7. Stun gun shot to the rear of the Principal’s head when no one is looking. This is why God made rifles. And on the 8th Day God …..

  8. Hmmm. Teacher Sam has earned an Irish Poem!

    Science Scienter???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a teacher named Sam
    Who got himself into a jam!
    While his “science” was good,
    It was doubtful he should
    Burn their arms for the final exam!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    Note: Scienter is a legal term which means:

    [sahy-en-ter] Law.

    1. Noun: a mental state in which one has knowledge that one’s action, statement, etc., is wrong, deceptive, or illegal: often used as a standard of guilt:

    The court found that the company had the requisite scienter for securities fraud.

    2. Adverb: knowingly or deliberately:

    His wife’s statements were made scienter.


    FWIW: The word has its roots in “sciens”, which means “to know”, and is the same root origin for the word, “science.”

  9. Since multiple students volunteered, there must not have been any pain. Since the marks disappear within a few days, no harm. Great science teacher. Put him back to work instilling enthusiasm and excitement for science in his students.

  10. I think in Nikola Tesla’s day the teacher would have been alright and the school would have stood with him. However you must be more cautious as a teacher today. I know he wanted to burn a love of science into his students, but unless you get a waiver of consent form from the parents and prove this won’t have an effect on the students cognitive abilities and send a shock to their brain through their nervous system, you’re going to be reprimanded.

    That being said, sounds like a really cool experience. If there’s no residual effects, maybe we could use tesla coils to try out a tattoo for a bit and see how you like it, or give the artist an outline to work with. Or maybe build a giant one, Red Alert style, to pinpoint drones that try to land near areas of national security.
    I never realized these things could be so precise as to write out text then draw a little heart on a kid’s arm…

  11. Bill H, I’m LMAO too. Some people have absolutely no awareness.

    It’s worth a little temporary pain to exclaim one’s love for their mother!

  12. It’s the world we live in plus the teacher should know better. Perhaps the experiment was ‘foolproof’ safe. Perhaps the marks disappear in a few days. It still is part of a realm of experimentation that is typical of a couple/plus boys in the woods seeing what will happen if they do this or that and sometimes someone gets hurt. In this society, the teacher should have known better. In any society. Imagine a hundred years ago in any colored state; a parent would react.

    There is an authority/guardian element of a teacher and connecting a device with a student, regardless of how supposedly safe it is, blurs that separation between guardian and student, just like allowing certain levels of intimacy to develop between students and teachers.

    The teacher should be made to connect with this necessary separation before continuing. He shouldn’t lose his job. His experiment shows a fine level of hands on teaching. He should have used something else besides the arms of his students.

    Sometimes common sense is missing when good intentions are present.

    1. If you can have your ears pierced and an abortion without parental permission surely you can get a Tesla tattoo.

  13. “…the troll that roams this blog, obsessing on me, usually avoids Darren’s post. She doesn’t like him.”

    Rolling on the floor laughing. Fortunately, my coffee cup was sitting on the desk when I read that.

  14. I think the parent overreacted, GaryT. I decided to take a more macro, philosophical look @ the post. Darren is a great weekend blogger and I like to help open up the discussion. One of the nice things about Darren’s posts is the troll that roams this blog, obsessing on me, usually avoids Darren’s post. She doesn’t like him. So, it makes his threads more civil and amenable to philosophical discussions w/o the wackiness and vitriol.

  15. As long as he didn’t hold the students down and they volunteered, I think he is off the hook. Cool experiment!!!!

  16. Nick:
    You said nothing about the article, or opining on the events there.

  17. Oregon, a very blue state, is one of only 3 states I have not visited. And people make fun of red states for their intolerance. I know a very liberal woman who drove hundreds of miles to avoid driving through Texas. Her intolerance burned gallons of gasoline and warmed the planet. LOL. The intolerance of liberals is mind boggling. Besides Oregon, I need to visit North Dakota and Hawaii. Of the 47, all had wonderful people, interesting places to see, and I’m glad I was there. I know I’ll feel the same when I get to Oregon. The vast majority of people in this country are normal, don’t give a rat’s ass about politics, and just live their lives enjoying the day. God willing, I will have been to all 50 in the next couple years. We all have much more in common than we have differences. Seek out the people who have that attitude. Avoid those who seek to divide. Seek out people w/ whom you disagree. Do it face to face. You will almost always be pleasantly surprised. I do that daily.

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