I recently re-read the Harry Potter series, and was shocked by the lax standards of safety in Potions. Personally I thought that Potions had many things in common with Muggle chemistry and biology. On the first day of any science class, the teachers give the entire class a two-hour lecture on lab safety, and inform us that a violation of any of the rules can get us kicked out of the lab permanently.
During almost every potions class shown in the books something is done that was very dangerous for the rest of the class.
In the Sorcerer’s Stone, Neville melts his cauldron because he didn’t follow the directions. First of all, why didn’t he follow the directions? If a Muggle had done that in science they would get in an incredible amount of trouble. Especially since what he has done has melted a pewter cauldron. If I was in chemistry and doing a lab that if done wrong could melt pewter, the teacher would be incredibly strict about following directions.
In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry sends a firework into Goyle’s cauldron. The potion explodes on the whole class, and since Goyle made the potion correctly the whole class swell up. Harry seems to think that this is funny, but it's not in any way. What if Goyle had messed up his potion? What if he did something similar to Neville, and made a potion that could melt pewter? What would that potion do to people if it landed on them?
In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry says “Deliberately causing mayhem in Snape’s Potions class was about as safe as poking a sleeping dragon in the eye.” (p.186) Well obviously. It has been shown that the potions that the first years are making can be incredibly dangerous if made incorrectly. If anything, I don’t think that Snape is strict enough. I have seen students kicked out of the lab permanently for not following directions, because when you’re working with dangerous substances not following directions can not only be hazardous for not only you but the whole class. All Snape does when students ignore directions (which happens constantly) is take house points or give directions.
I also wondered whether robes would be hazardous around flames.
What do you think? Do you think Snape is strict enough about safety in potions class? If you were a parent, who's child was at Hogwarts, would you be alright with the safety in potions class?