By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
An article in The Gazette on January 12 by Scott Froehlich provides details regarding an accident that occurred in shop class at Whitewater High School in November, as well as appreciation from the student and his mother, Jeannine Volbright, for Mike Wintz, the teacher in whose class the incident occurred. Wintz announced his retirement on December 13.
According to the article, the student, senior Andrew Rollette, was using an angle grinder and sparks were hitting his shirt. “Rollette said his shirt contained polyester, a fiber which is normally flame-retardant, but can ignite when it is subjected to high enough temperature,” per the Gazette article, which added, “Aside from all shop class students being required to wear safety glasses, Rollette said safety protocols were relatively lax….Rollette said he’s been accused of ‘not listening to Mr. Wintz’ and ‘doing something [I] shouldn’t have.’ ‘But he’s a teacher that I respect greatly [and] I wouldn’t do that,’” Rollette said.
Per the article, Rollette suffered third-degree burns and required a two-and-a-half-week hospital stay.
“Unfortunately, because it’s a personnel issue, the school is not releasing any details about the incident…,” Volbright said. “He was one of Andrew’s favorite teachers.”