Few people likely spend much time thinking about the way in which items they are surrounded with on daily basis might cause them harm. Consider for example, the widespread use of glass containing wire mesh. Called wired glass, it is found in buildings throughout Canada, including those in the province of Ontario. Schools in Ontario are some of those buildings.
The intent behind the use of this type of glass in schools is positive. It is designed to prevent the spread of fire should a window break. This is accomplished through the use of the wires to hold the shards in place. While the glass appears to be strong, in fact, according to an engineering professor at the University of Toronto, its strength is half that of regular glass.
Because children are so active, it is virtually inevitable that at some point they will make contact with the glass and it will break. According to an estimate provided by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, up to 368 injuries due to wired glass could occur in schools throughout the nation, each year. Those injuries can be severe and result in, among other things, blood loss, nerve damage and scarring.
While the Toronto District School Board has indicated wired glass will no longer be used in new construction, it has no intention of replacing the already existing glass panes. A spokesman for the TDSB indicates such action would cost millions of dollars.
Parents in Toronto send their children to school to learn, expecting they will not be severely injured in the course of the day. Most would likely prefer that steps be taken to prevent any further injuries of this nature from occurring in the school setting.
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