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Today in Depressing

High School Student Makes the Cap Pop Off a Water Bottle With Science, Now She’s Facing Adult Felony Charges


Kiera Wilmot is a sixteen-year-old student with good grades and a “perfect” behavior record. Or at least she was. She has been expelled from her Florida school after creating a small chemical reaction that caused no damage or harm, and additionally been arrested and charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. According to the Miami New Times, she will be tried as an adult.

From the Miami New Times:

On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

The “common household chemicals” were later revealed to be toilet cleaner and tin foil. When confronted, according to her principal, Ron Pritchard, Wilmot didn’t attempt to evade questioning or to lie. “She told us everything and was very honest… We had a long conversation with her,” where Wilmot explained that she’d done it to see the chemical reaction it produced, “and was shocked by what it did.” In Pritchard’s opinion, “She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone.”  ”She is a good kid,” he told a local news outlet, “She has never been in trouble before. Ever.”

And yet, instead of suspension, a talking to, and a recruitment into AP Chemistry, Wilmot has been expelled under the school’s code of conduct (more on that later) and will have to continue her education in an expulsion program. She has also been arrested and faces adult felony charges, which in the state of Florida can carry hurdles to her later employment, education, housing, and even her right to vote (hat tip to Elizabeth Prout). In this context a mere school expulsion seems to pale in comparison, but it’s at least worth pointing out, as Feministing’s Sesali Bowen does, that Bartow High School’s code of conduct requires that “intention” be considered when applying the zero tolerance rule on weapons on school grounds. Despite her own principal’s stated belief that she didn’t intend to hurt anyone (it bears repeating that no one was, in fact, hurt), Wilmot has still been expelled.

The Bartow school district issued this statement on Tuesday:

Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us. Unfortunately, the incident that occurred at Bartow High School yesterday was a serious breach of conduct. In order to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment, we simply must uphold our code of conduct rules. We urge our parents to join us in conveying the message that there are consequences to actions. We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff.

Certainly, sixteen year olds should learn that there are “consequences to actions.” But at the same time… trying a dedicated sixteen year old student with no disruptive record as an adult because of an accident that harmed no one and caused no property damage? The connection between Wilmot’s race (she is black) and the arrest; the possibility that her skin color may have colored the perception of her actions by the school district and police; is near unavoidable, as Sesali Bowen discusses in her post on Wilmot:

When we talk about the criminalization of communities and people of color, especially African Americans and Latinos in America, we often talk about the criminal justice system in America that disproportionately targets those communities. Schools are often the major accomplices… This is not about the “safety and security” of students and staff at Bartow High School. This was about setting an example, at the expense of Wilmot, and sending a message that even (mis)perceived threats will be dealt with swiftly and harshly. The unfortunate truth is that in America, those perceptions are heavily tied up in notions of race, class, and gender.

Elizabeth Prout discusses this further in her brief post on Wilmot’s arrest for Technology & Women in Indiana.

It seems, at least according to local news, that many of Wilmot’s classmates believe that she did not intend to harm anyone. Hopefully someone up the legal pipeline from her initial arrest will feel the same way.

(via Feministing.)

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  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    This is absolutely outrageous.

  • Anonymous

    These “bombs” have been used for years and are pretty dangerous. She may be ignorant of this and that’s fine, but she still detonated what police typically classify as an explosive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RuthSWilson Ruth Wilson

    how are you supposed to learn life lesson if you do not make bad choices? so stupid. they should apologize to this girl. she should also get a scholarship (on her high school) to a college of her choice.

  • Anonymous

    I have to imagine any high school student considering attempting this would have seen videos of it on YouTube. Seems harsh though, shouldn’t she just have to appear in school on Saturday with a jock, popular girl, outcast, and rebellious troublemaker for a day of hijinks?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dnicolai Daniel Nicolai

    My suggestion, EVERY SINGLE STUDENT at her school should show up with a baggy of Comet and some TinFoil, buy a soda, go out to the football field, and fire it off. Systems like this are completely intolerable and are 100% the reason that my children are being homeschooled. I’m fine with my kids getting bullied and having teachers who “hate” them, that’s part of life. When a school expels a student for goofing off, even if they are a bad seed, that’s inexcusable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.swinson Jessica Swinson
  • Anonymous

    My gosh that is horrible.

  • Anonymous

    Part of the problem, I think, is this is one of those things that’s been getting circulated in a quasi-urban legend way as warning flyers. There’s no end of facebook posts about dangerous bottles filled with drano and tinfoil that are being left “all over” by mischievous kids that can explode violently and do no end of damage. Wildly over-exaggerated and made to sound far more prevalent, but when one actually happens (however much in the name of science) people over-react.

    This is much more a case of the zero-tolerance policies that have been put in place than any racism There’s any number of stories about kids getting in trouble for drawings of guns, and other ridiculous reactions. She actually did make a thing that wen “boom”, but again, if people who had the authority actually took a moment to consider the facts, things might go differently. But nobody wants to be on the hook that one time out a million that things go pear shaped.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Omegabrett Brett Carruthers

    God Bless America

  • http://www.facebook.com/winterbutterfly Stephanie Eversole Vandenburg

    ARG, this infuriates me SO much. What can we do?

  • http://twitter.com/AliasSC Ailsa Clarke

    We did worse experiments than that in class with our teacher. This is absolutely ridiculous. That poor girl.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ktkatrina Katrina Lovett

    This has been all over facebook and snopes in the last 12 months… While I understand she was curious, is doing this on school property without ANY supervision from someone like a chemistry teacher really appropriate? http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/bottlebomb.asp

  • http://www.nostalgiajunkie.net/ nostalgiajunkie

    Oh so the girl who pops a cap off a bottle gets tried as an adult but the boys who gang-raped a girl get tried as juveniles. That makes total sense!

  • Master Discord

    My Jr. High Science Fair project exploded violently IN THE CLASSROOM due to another student tampering with it, but no one got hurt and no one was disciplined. This is absurd in every sense of the word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/smwildmon Sarah Wildmon

    My best friend and I were just discussing this. She is from Polk County, and I spent my school breaks with my Nana playing on the dirt road with my best friend, who lived right next door. It wasn’t until we became adults that we realized the kind of environment we had spent our childhood in.Polk County has been stuck in a social time warp since the 1950′s. It has produced very little productive and positive (besides orange juice) in the last 20 years. The county socially oppresses it’s black community, and supports a white community with a mindset that embraces trashy, delinquent behavior. John Paul Rogers, a “respected” community member and former Grand Dragon of the KKK was elected city commissioner in 2008 (if that tells you anything about how ass backwards the place is). My grandfather took my Dad to the man’s barber shop as a child, and I won’t even repeat some of the tragic and horrible things my dad heard while in that place. He shakes his head every time something like this happens in Polk County. Everyone who has ever spent time there knows exactly what this is all about, and it is a damn shame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dessa-Brewington/721495970 Dessa Brewington

    Comet and tinfoil can be genuinely dangerous. Sometimes, instead of the cap flying off, the bottle itself can explode and send shards of plastic or glass everywhere.

    The explusion and felony charge is completely ridiculous, and should be protested, but I wouldn’t encourage kids to repeat that risky mixture.

  • Anonymous

    So, a science experiment happened at a school. It wasn’t dangerous (unless you’re a moron and put your eyes directly over it – in which case, so is a Nerf gun) and no one was hurt.

    Intent matters, and this was clearly not a malicious act. Stop wasting taxpayer dollars by destroying the life of a scientifically curious child.

  • http://twitter.com/anfistophanes Anfistophanes

    Remember that time when public opinion affected the legal course of action?

    Me neither.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.tuttle.56 Nathan Tuttle

    Apparently reality is now a John Hughes movie? Who knew!

  • http://twitter.com/juliannacondor Julianna Condor

    Sure I do. It’s called “district attorney election year” time.

  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    Back in 1987 at my high school, a kid set off a bomb in the toilet of the gymnasium, blasting it off the wall and damaging the stall. The kid, myself and two others got in trouble for it. He was expelled, another friend was suspended and I and the last got detentions (we were included in the punishment for being first on the scene, and for not having sufficiently discouraged him – long story).

    No trial. No one went to jail, in fact rumor has it that our bomber was recruited not long after to the FBI. I’ve not confirmed this.

    So yeah, this is absolutely an outrageous overreaction by idiots. This girl should be commended for her curiosity, and her honesty. Yes, a talking to about responsibility is in line, and maybe a slap on the wrist penalty, like a demerit. If a kid at my school could cause thousands of dollars of property damage and only get expelled for it, then someone who did no harm does not in any way deserve a trial.

  • http://twitter.com/Totz_the_Plaid Totz_the_Plaid

    Unfortunately, this sounds like what she made was an underpowered Drano bomb, a “Drano firecracker”, if you will. Those things, at full power, CAN be deadly and cause massive property damage. While I think this particular case is pretty over-the-top in the way it’s being handled, the entire case is a powder keg either way because of the chemicals that were involved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.king.750331 Ray King

    Zero tolerance rules.
    You break them an you pay.
    Does not matter how or why you broke them.
    You still are punished.

  • http://www.teamugli.com/ Jericho McCune

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that what she did was appropriate. From reading the article, it sounds like most people are complaining that the punishment is inappropriate. In fact, the part that says “Certainly, sixteen year olds should learn that there are “consequences
    to actions.” But at the same time… trying a dedicated sixteen year old
    student with no disruptive record as an adult because of an accident
    that harmed no one and caused no property damage?” kind of makes that point pretty clearly.

    Do you think she should be tried as an adult and face a felony conviction?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.campbell.946954 Kyle Campbell

    I live in Hillsborough county (next door to Polk) and the atmosphere and environment between the two counties is more than noticeable. Polk county is dirty, disgusting, and filled with extreme prejudice towards its African American community. Hillsborough county has it fair share too, but Polk excels in being backwards. As someone mentioned earlier, the town is very dirty. There’s a running joke that Polk county used to be the meth capital of the United States. Visit there once and you’ll know why.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashredflash Ashley Chesser

    That was my thought exactly when I heard the story this morning. But perhaps just use diet cola and mentos. It’ll still cause the cap to pop off with a bit of noise. And if the school is indeed going to follow their zero tolerance policy, they’ll have to expel the entire student body.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carly.hunter.9066 Carly Hunter

    Such an overreaction this deserves a suspension at the most and being tried as an adult is way to harsh for the circumstances. This is totally ridiculous.

  • http://twitter.com/TheCoryDorsey Cory Dorsey

    Sue the living crap out of the school district.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the posters who say that an “experiment” of this type was a bad idea; we shouldn’t encourage kids to experiment with chemicals in an uncontrolled, unsupervised way (if she had somehow injured herself or someone else you can be sure the school would be facing a lawsuit). However, I also agree that the response is ridiculously overzealous, inappropriate, and an embarrassment. At most this deserves a suspension of a few days and a reminder to the students of the potential dangers of attempting these kinds of experiments.

  • http://thesketchydetails.net/ Robert

    Except the school policies state intent matters and must be accounted for when issuing punishment. There was no malice in her actions. Therefore, expulsion was not the appropriate response.

  • Mr The Batman

    So she wasn’t in a class and decided to do a bit of science pre-school hours. She didn’t hurt or attempt to hurt anyone and the senior school staff thought it was best to expel her?

    Ridiculous.

  • Robert Levesque

    Great so lets punish our children for being curious and wanting to learn about things in life. F*k Florida the hell with anyone that thinks this is OK. A bottle under pressure is NOT a weapon.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely ridiculous!!! This is why I have no patience for this “zero tolerance” crap! I feel the same way about mandatory minimum sentencing. Total bs!!! Stupid paranoia is ruining so many lives. Like the kid who was suspended because he bit his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun… When are adults going to stop being so friggin stupid when it comes to this stuff? What kind of lesson does that teach the children besides fear and ignorance?

  • http://slyck.com/ zbeast

    So she made a lye bomb… I was making those in jr high..

    maybe you could hurt someone if they got splashed and didn’t wash it off.

    I guess I would be looking for a stretch in the big house if I was in high school these days..

    I painted the floors and door locks with Ammonium TriIodide.
    blew up a number of trash cans with homemade black power.
    Made 3 inch firework shell’s that were attached to the scoreboard that were rigged to go off at the end of home coming.

    That’s right Mr bates, that was sweet little old me.

  • Anonymous

    Fucking.

    Florida.

    It’s ALWAYS fucking Florida that makes me roll my eyes so far into my head that I almost go blind! If the principal doesn’t feel that she was out to do any harm then WHY isn’t he and other school officials appealing to the school board on her behalf to AT LEAST drop the felony charges? In his interview he just passively sits there “aw shucks, she’s a good kid”, but whatever…

    I’ve lived here in FL all my life. The public school system in every county here is a corrupt fucking joke. My mother, sister, aunt and several cousins are teachers/school workers/counselors and they have seen some crazy shit go down where not so much as an eyebrow is raised. One of my cousins students brandished a knife at her when she failed him. He was “suspended” for the remainder of the school year, and after some behind the scene’s machinations on the part of his parents who knew people on the school board, that little punk was BACK in the halls the following school year. My cousin had to face that psychopath ever day for the next year. I hope someone fights for this girl, I certainly do because this reeks to high heaven. I’m not exactly sure that someone involved isn’t have a great time derailing the life of a promising young black woman.

  • Anonymous

    This is complete and utter bullshit. If the guidelines say to factor in intent, and the principal, staff, and students all corroborate that she was fully cooperative, that they do not think she is a bad kid, that she is a great student, and that she was curious, and no one was injured and nothing was damaged, WHERE THE FUCK does this kind of decision come from?

    Another POC’s life ruined before it even begins. Not surprised at all, coming from a system in Florida…

    I hope this spreads as wide as possible.

  • cloudywolf

    Ever heard of Avaaz? SumOfUs? Petitions can have an effect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-O-Miller/1449636667 Max O. Miller

    So…are high school science project volcanoes classified as terrorism now? This is…absurd.

  • Anonymous

    Zero tolerance rules are complete bullshit

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Brown/100003806213451 Mark Brown

    That’ll teach her to try to learn something on school grounds.

    Oy.

  • Quan Bui

    Wow, are u serious right now!? What the hell is wrong with this school? If anything, this is the school’s fault for not properly educating this poor girl on the dangers of certain chemical reactions.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like receiving the death penalty for shoplifting. :I

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    It seems like they just want to prevent any real lesson from being learned at all if they can prevent it.

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    I miss “Three Strikes” already.

  • Ben Vigus

    WHY THE @#%%^&&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????? I can’t….. by all the civil rights leaders to ever live…..why?

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    It is pretty screwed up.

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    Stuff like this is always going to happen, I once committed a similar accident in a chemistry room 20 years ago and didn’t see a day of detention. It’s the varying laws that schools, states and others enacted that get in the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=878305528 Rodney Brazeau

    Guess there won’t be any baking soda volcanoes at this year’s science fair. Would hate to get arrested for creating a harmless chemical reaction.

    I hope she/her parents fight this. It is a sad commentary when students are taught to fear scientific curiosity.

  • CommentsSectionsAreDumb

    Florida, America’s wang.

  • https://vimeo.com/super8shooter The Rising

    This is so insane it sounds like an Onion article. I am a tall, pasty white guy and conservative to boot and i want to reach out, hug this girl and then clock that jackasses who are treating her like a criminal. This country has gone nuts.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    It was a minor accident in a school chemistry lab. And science teacher could tell you of any number of such incidents that get laughed off each year. This is ridiculous.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    Hey look! Despondency! That ALWAYS helps…

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    Yes, there will not be a safe bottle cap anywhere in the country if we allow such behavior to continue!

  • Anonymous

    Here’s what I would say to Kiera: Do not let your schooling interfere with your education. Be creative, explore, play, and learn. The school system wants to socialize you and make you a good little worker bee. They will beat the creativity right out of you if it interferes with their forced march to conformity. This is a sad, sad story if true. We need more chemists, especially biochemists, but creative ones.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    Zero tolerance policies are instituted as alleged “get tough” measures, but all they do is short-circuit any possible use of judgment or reason from any given situation.

    They are an excuse for administrators not to think, and that is all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1467679395 Julie Kessler

    And people wonder why I openly criticize the U.S. criminal justice system.

  • ZennRenn

    Wow that makes a lot of sense dude.

    GoGetAnon.tk

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    Or just not vote on the next levy.

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    That’s all it is. I feel my generation is the last to actually be that free of those problems.

  • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

    You have nothing to be ashamed of, only the authority figures who become too alarmed an incompetent to do a thing about it.

  • Anonymous

    The reaction by authority to this incident is absurdly ignorant and destructive. I spent most of my life experimenting with anything and everything I thought was interesting. I have learned so damned much about science that life is always interesting and fun. That inquisitiveness made college easy, gave me a lot of wonderful nutty technologically active friends and set me on a career path.

    This young woman should be made to write a paper on what she hoped to accomplish with her experiment and exactly what chemical reactions and physics did occur. Then it should be published in her school newspaper.

    Being driven to goof off with science makes you a more interesting and enlightened person.

  • http://realityme.net/ Doug McCaughan

    These adults prosecuting this student are probably the same ones that flushed cherry bombs and m-80s down the toilets at their schools. Can we please bring some sanity back to the system?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Zell/31110369 Thomas Zell

    This was not a dangerous chemical reaction. There was no need to educate students about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Zell/31110369 Thomas Zell

    ONLY if black people do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Zell/31110369 Thomas Zell

    If the authorities knew about all the things I did when I was a teenager, I would probably be put on death row before my 15th birthday.

  • Travis Fischer

    Here’s my question. How the !@#$ are schools supposed to teach kids critical thinking skills when they clearly are incapable of using them?

  • http://twitter.com/Cluisanna Cluisanna

    I read this and couldn’t believe it – then I found out she is black and suddenly it sadly incredibly believable. It’s always people of color, especially black people, who are punished the harshest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/endurance.idehen Endurance Idehen

    No, its like receiving the death penalty studying chemistry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.fuqua.1 Adam Fuqua

    Anyone starting a charity fund for her defense and future lawsuit for wrongful arrest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    That’s what she gets for being a black girl! She should’ve known better.

    Man, this is bullshit. As if we needed more proof that the justice system is set up to protect the rich, whites, straights and men. Rapists with sound evidence go free with sympathy flung their way, murderers are practically given pats on the back for shooting unarmed boys, and good students get their future potentially ruined forever because of a minor accident in which NO ONE WAS HURT.

    These stories scare the shit out of me sometimes, when I’m not busy being so angry I can hardly type.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.hubbard.96 Rob Hubbard

    There is a differences on making a bomb and learning from a experiment, The girl needs a lawyer and someone needs to bring to the attenuation that if she was doing this for a experiment at a sciences fair all these judges didn’t say a thing that that would cause a bad reaction???? you blame everything o this girl where where the teachers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607464418 Rusty Patti

    Let me guess? Experimenting while black?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Soon it’ll be simpler to just call it ‘Existing While Black’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.mosher Steve Mosher

    Don’t mix diet coke and mentos as school either. Guess you get expelled for that as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bradley.cozzens Bradley Cozzens

    asinine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bradley.cozzens Bradley Cozzens

    So if she had been white would you be upset? I personally could careless about her color it’s asinine what is happening. But having spent a large portion of my youth just outside of Bartow I know that they are incapable of forwarding thinking and that if she had been a white student the same outcome would have occurred.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshuapaulhawkins Joshua Paul Hawkins

    And yet students are allowed to play with ACTUAL GAS and ACTUAL FIRE in Biology class. What a crock of shit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Oh, please. This is not the time to be willfully ignorant of the disproportionate way the legal system treats people of color.

  • http://twitter.com/aristotle_dude Ari U.

    Here is an idea. Get everyone in the town to STOP paying their taxes. They cannot arrest everyone.

    Refuse to pay your taxes until the government starts serving the people again. Remember the “no taxation without representation” issue that started the first American revolution? If they do not represent your values then you should not have to pay taxes.

  • http://twitter.com/CrazyCatTeen Abigail Wallace

    I’m with you. I mean, when I was in high school, one of our chemistry *projects* involved igniting hydrogen gas. As in, the curriculum. If kids aren’t allowed to get a little wild in science class, how can we retain their interest in science? Think about it, some years ago they started cracking down on what games children can play in gym class, and what equipment they could have on playgrounds; shortly thereafter, obesity rates skyrocketed. This girl *should* be “commended for her curiosity,” because if schools continue to suppress it, we can expect our children’s scientific capabilities to go the way of their physical ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.lalonde.3 Amanda Lalonde

    What about the geek! I think his story is quite reminiscent to this girls. He shot off a flare gun, albeit to commit suicide but still. If he shot that thing off and only got a weekend of detention :P Then again, this is Florida, so I’m not entirely surprised they’ve got some backwards punishment in place.

  • Axey

    Sign and share the petition someone linked to get the charges dropped I guess. It’s better than nothing. She can at least see that there are people who believe in her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.ogletree.75 David Ogletree

    I’m sure if this was a nice school and a white girl they would have done nothing not even a scolding. We need to send the national guard over there to get rid of those racists. This is pure stupidity. I have a feeling that this article might just be hyperbole. Are they for sure going to file felony charges or is that just what is possible and nobody is even thinking about doing it. Somebody should start a fund to send her to private school. I would donate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NickGiannini Nick Giannini

    Florida: Still the Batshit Craziest State in the Country. 10 years running!

  • http://www.facebook.com/NickGiannini Nick Giannini

    The petition may not have an affect, but if I were the parents Id be calling every TV and internet media outlet I could find. The attention brought down on the county would probably get them some results.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    It sounds like she was trying to recreate that bottle bomb experiment that’s been floating around on the internet–the one responsible for hurting people (snopes confirms, IIRC).

    And she was probably doing it for the sake of sheer curiosity, because I’ll admit, when you hear about it, you’re like, “What? Tin foil can do that?”

    But it has gotten a lot of play as something potentially very dangerous. And if that’s where she learned about it (again, likely, seeing as how it’s been around and about on tumblr and facebook), then it came with a very large side-order of “This thing MAIMS people. DANGEROUS!! DO NOT DO IT.”

    I’m not reading anything that implies this was a controlled experiment that she conducted with a teacher’s supervision after bringing the formula to her and getting an okay. If the teacher had okayed it, I image we’d be reading about the teacher getting called up as well. And this would be on the teacher entirely, really, because, well, that’s what adult supervision is for.

    Sorry, but even without intent, this isn’t much different than a kid trying to make a pipe bomb to see what it does. The concept is fascinating, and hey, chemistry class is a great place to blow stuff up. But if you just do it on your own, no, that is a really bad decision and can hurt people. Criminal charges are a bit much, but the expulsion…I won’t say I would’ve done it, but it’s not something I’d be outraged by either.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Yeah. And it doesn’t sound like she okay’d it with a teacher either (something like “none of the teachers knew any specifics about the experiment”). Sure, little explosions happen in science labs, but hopefully the teachers at least knew what was going on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.cruziana James Cruziana

    This article is very biased and I think underplays the reaction that was taking place. When you mix metals and acids, you get hydrogen. This is extremely basic chemistry… Had the cap been any tighter, the bottle would have been a small bomb that would have sprayed acid everywhere – and you wouldn’t have to be a moron to have been hurt by it. It would be significantly more likely to scare people than to hurt them, but if the conditions were as wrong as they could be it could be fatal… I know I wouldn’t want to stand too close to that bottle. With that said, she’s a kid… no one got hurt… charging her as an adult is a little extreme.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Why should she get a scholarship?

    The thing she built is from an infographic that’s been making the rounds on facebook and tumblr. Basically, it’s a warning not to pick up plastic bottles with tin-foil in the neck, because they can explode and seriously maim whoever was holding the object. It’s a fascinating concept, that chemicals hitting tin foil can produce such a violent reaction, and I can understand a kid wanting to see if it’s really true. But it’s dangerous, and from the sound of it, she didn’t even tell the science teacher the specifics of what she was doing to make sure it’s alright.

    Also: “how are you supposed to learn life lesson if you do not make bad choices?”

    That’s a good point. You learn those life lessons because of the CONSEQUENCES of those bad choices. Choosing to make something that’s basically a chemical bomb on school grounds without making sure that it was okay with the teacher is a really bad choice, even if it was done for the sake of morbid curiosity.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Diet cola and mentos aren’t really dangerous. The tin foil/toilet cleaner thing can be. Like, maimed for life kind of dangerous.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Snopes confirms that it is a thing: http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/bottlebomb.asp

    I think that’s the problem. It gets play as something that is genuinely dangerous and she went ahead and made it on her own on school grounds.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    The key words there being “With Our Teacher.”

    We frequently went outside to burn leftover chemicals, set methane bubbles on fire, dropped potassium in water, and one memorable time, even had some liquid nitrogen to play with. With. Our. Teacher.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    No. But I don’t think people should be up in arms about the expulsion.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    “A bottle under pressure is NOT a weapon.”

    Holy crap, what? This one didn’t hurt anyone (the cap wasn’t on tight enough), but dude. A bottle under pressure IS a weapon. ANYTHING that you can seal tightly and put under pressure is ABSOLUTELY a weapon. That is literally how you make a bomb.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    A gun-shaped Pop-Tart isn’t going to hurt anyone. What she did, on school grounds, unsupervised, really could have. Charging her is ridiculous, and the expulsion isn’t what I would’ve done (suspension, definitely), but this isn’t even sort of like the Pop-Tart thing.

  • Robinson Crudite

    See, what I don’t get is why you have posted your opinion over and over in this thread (because you’re so right that once isn’t enough, I guess), but haven’t gone to Google to find articles about the incident. They would answer some of your questions.

    This wasn’t even remotely like a pipe bomb. Pipe bombs are so notorious as to be cliche. It’s ridiculous to claim this student mixing chemicals was doing the same thing as making a pipe bomb… and that’s saying nothing of your assumption that she got the idea for this from Tumblr or Facebook in the first place.

    Further, the student apparently knew there would be smoke produced, so did the project outside, behind a gazebo and near a lake, before school. It was in a somewhat isolated area with “maybe half a dozen kids”, and also in front of teachers because the principal told The Ledger that he was nearby when it happened. He also said he and teachers immediately approached the area and the student didn’t run, and cooperated fully. She was apparently doing her own experiment and was surprised by the reaction.

    Yes, it was a bad decision. This bad decision now means she at the least will have to finish high school in an “expulsion program,” which appears to be a special school in Polk County. That is the minimum fallout from her decision, one that looks like it will affect her post-high school education and possibly even job prospects. Her name and address are printed in newspapers even though she’s only 16, which causes safety concerns now that this is such a big story. One newspaper clearly stood outside and eavesdropped on the family, and reported it (see coverage on 9news.com where they report what they heard people inside the house saying). This incident will follow her around her entire life.

    Not only does the school policy explicitly state that intent should be considered, I also suggest you to read the Florida Board of Education website, which says they “encourage schools to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies” when it comes to zero tolerance policies. Yet it appears a quick decision to call the police and charge her with felonies was made.

    On top of all that, isn’t anyone else a little curious as to why the principal immediately called the cops, then immediately went to the media to say the student didn’t mean any harm and never got into trouble? It seems strange to me, to tell the cops to charge her with a felony, then run to the media to basically say she should never have been charged with a felony.

  • http://www.nicholaslawson.com/ Nicholas Lawson

    How does a student get expelled for producing A+ work ?

  • http://twitter.com/Commentzilla Comment Zilla

    Clearly a weapon of mass destruction. She should be stripped of her citizenship, water-boarded and tried as an enemy combatant.

    Who let her family in to this country? Time to stop letting all these foreigners in! We need to have background checks!

    Oh wait, sorry, I thought I was a Republican!

  • http://www.facebook.com/you.no.9277 You No

    Ruling by fear, even if it’s fear of an “outside,” is the mark of a tyrant. We live in a time where the general mindset seems to hold a slow, steady creep to absolute rule. Need evidence? Ask this young lady.

    Time to stand up and say Enough. We are not “normal”, we are not “controllable”, we are not afraid to make mistakes, nor to have people dislike us.

    We choose to be Free, and because we are self dependent, and we are not subjects of anyone, no matter how many they cloth in uniforms and how many legal fictions they frame, we will accept that Freedom has risks.

    “We hold these truths to be self evident…” wasn’t a joke. But just as they had to enumerate Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness back then, some people can forget.

    You are the “We,” don’t ever let them forget it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/betty.s.murray.7 Betty Sue Murray

    What on earth is happening in this country … this is just plain stupid

  • Alu Zeros

    What a moron principal, he knows she hasn’t caused any problems and meant to harm no one but still decides to press charges. This is what is wrong with the education system. We have morons running it.

  • Alu Zeros

    The education system is ran by flipping morons

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.rudnin.5 Michael Rudnin

    Sometimes, I plainly can’t understand my own country … shit like this just boggles the mind …

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    She didn’t receive the death penalty, so it isn’t like that all.

  • Mabel

    Wow. They’re completely ignoring their own rule by not considering her intent. What a bunch of ninnies.

  • Mabel

    I think we should take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  • http://twitter.com/Mirithklang Kimberley Lang
  • Doug Muder

    If she were white there would be a simple solution to the no-tolerance policy: A nearby private high school would give her a scholarship to finish up her diploma there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Lindfors/574781871 Christian Lindfors

    Many Chemistry students had fun with iodine and ammonia in my School. Nobody got in to any serious trouble for it. This is just madness.

  • http://twitter.com/CEITMark Mark Schulz

    Guns kill people. Cars kill people. How many people have died from this experiment. Let’s keep things in perspective. Maybe it would be more prorductive to work on the things that really do damage, than focus on things that might do damage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/themotely.bloak TheMotely Bloak

    That’s what happened in boston

  • http://www.facebook.com/themotely.bloak TheMotely Bloak

    Thank you for having a brain!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.orillion Andrew Orillion

    Look at this from the schools perspective. What if something had gone wrong? What if someone had gotten hurt. Every parent in that school would have called every lawyer in Florida and sued the school district for every penny it had.

    Was expulsion an overreaction? Yes. But the school had to do something. This isn’t about her being a girl or being black. This is about litigious parents and greedy lawyers all with dollar signs in their eyes and the school that has to protect itself from them.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But we don’t know WHERE she learned it from, someone may have recommended it to her as no more harmless than mentos and diet coke. And even if she knew it was dangerous, she obviously took precautions to conduct it as safely as possible with no supervision, as you yourself have pointed out repeatedly, because the top was not on tight enough to allow pressure to build up.

    And yes, I am up in arms about her expulsion. Because of that her future is RUINED. Even if the charges are dropped, her future is still ruined because of the expulsion, when she gets her worthless diploma for “troubled students”. Young black women are disadvantaged enough in this fucking world without overreacting.

    Sure, suspend her. I have no problem with a punishment appropriate for the crime.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Diet cola and mentos can be just as dangerous, if the contents are kept under pressure. If you’re going to authoritarian about this, at least be consistent.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    You are assuming she made it from that infographic. You don’t know that.

    You are advocating a punishment completely out of line with what she did.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It was not in a chemistry lab.

  • http://twitter.com/xombiehamster Mandy

    Eeeeexactly. This was a bad idea from the start, and thankfully nobody was hurt. I don’t have much sympathy for people who build bombs carelessly, and do not think that expelling her is beyond wrong like the highly biased article suggests.

    So soon after the attack in Boston? This was pure stupid.

  • Anonymous

    It is in that it’s an over-reaction by adults who should know better, setting a horrible example for kids who are being unfairly unpunished.

  • http://www.paulnewcomb.com/ Paul

    “You learn those life lessons because of the CONSEQUENCES of those bad choices.”

    I don’t think people are arguing that she shouldn’t be punished. It’s the ridiculously severe consequences being thrown at her that concern me at least. Do you think the consequences are fitting in this case? I seriously hope you say no…

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    It’s a lousy simile. It’s a gross exaggeration. It’s disingenuous.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    We are looking at it from that perspective, and NO ONE is saying she shouldn’t be punished. A suspension, detention, banned from after school events, whatever. But expulsion permanently damages her future. And yes, the fact that she’s black is likely the reason she’s facing excessive punishment.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes they should, it is a punishment that is NOT commiserate with the crime.

    That’s what they make suspension for.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    So because of this, she should never be able to go to college? Get a decent paying job? She should be forced to endure endemic poverty for the remainder of her life?

    Nice.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who grew up in Polk County from 5 to 18 (though, to be fair, I got out as soon as I could), I promise that we’re not all backwater rednecks. I actually managed to go to a pretty decent high school in Lakeland, but I definitely didn’t stay. I know many people may fit that description of Polk County, but please don’t tar us all with the same brush! And I can’t speak for all of the cities in Polk County, but Lakeland has tons of nice parks and some Frank Lloyd Wright architecture to boot–it’s pretty damn cookie-cutter suburban in most places. But yeah, Bartow’s a little different.

  • CuriousMe

    She did this intentionally, it wasn’t an accident caused by someone else tampering with it.

  • CuriousMe

    According to your statement, what happened to you was an accident.

    This student created this bomb intentionally.

  • CuriousMe

    This was not an accident. She brought the necessary materials, intentionally to the football field at a time there would be no one there to stop her. It was very well thought out.

    The fact that she was allegedly surprised by the chemical reaction that occurred does not excuse her.

    If she was curious, she could have asked her chemistry teacher about it, or she could have looked it up on line (it’s a well documented chemical reaction).

    The girl created a bomb and is lucky that she survived the experience.

  • Anonymous

    As the criminal charges could permanently ruin this girl’s prospects, I rather suspect he was going for a different simile than I was re: “like receiving the death penalty”.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Yeah, that 7AM time stamp is what kinda made me raise my eyebrow. Has class even started by then? I mean, even if chem class is first thing in the morning, there’s usually about five/ten minutes of getting the class settled, checking homework, etc, then schlepping down to the football field and all.

    Her curiosity isn’t the problem. The poor decision was to try and do it by herself without letting any of the teacher know the specifics. (Knowing most high school chem teachers, they’d probably have been fine with it, but just if they’d known in advance.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/TommyScott0 Tommy Scott

    Yes and the chemical reaction from these things when mixed produces a gas that will kill you.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    No, not really. I think the criminal charges are absolutely ridiculous and the expulsions should be a suspension. But the comments sections is just full of people going: “She was just LEARNING! Give her a scholarship!!!” “OMG, now SCIENCE is a CRIME!” And the utter stupidity of likening something that can very easily cause seriously physical harm to freaking mentos or baking soda volcanoes.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    And advocating a scholarship for building what can easily be a bomb on school property without actually informing any of the teachers is…completely IN line with that she did?

    Look, wherever she got the info, unless it was from one of those “Screw Safety Kids!” books from the fifties, before childhood safety was invented, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that it came with the warning of “Hey, this can be dangerous!” Which doesn’t mean don’t do it, but certainly does mean that you should, y’know, let your teacher know what you’re doing if you plan on building it on school property.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    I didn’t say dead, did I? I said maimed. Snopes has record of kids losing fingers to this one. And way to muddy up the scenario by going, “But GUNS!” Not even sort of the issue.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    “Se obviously took precautions to conduct it as safely as possible with no supervision”

    But with no supervision. If you’re doing it on school grounds and it’s a thing that explodes…look, it said the teachers didn’t even know about it. She missed the basic first step.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Now you’re assuming a lot. Being expelled doesn’t mean you never go to college. And nobody’s getting a decent paying job these days.

    Again, I think a suspension is more in line, but I also think the people screaming about her just being s a curious li’l thing is a bit much.

  • http://www.paulnewcomb.com/ Paul

    Agreed. People like to overreact in the opposite direction when they feel a blatant injustice has occurred. In any case, I think it all comes down to intention. According to the principle, she didn’t realize the chemicals would react so strongly, and she definitely didn’t have any mischievous intentions in mind. The punishment she’s being given is as if her intentions WERE malicious.

    You also said that she made it using a popular infographic knowing that it would cause a potentially serious reaction, but how do you know that? Maybe she saw a particular youtube video in which the dangers weren’t apparent and the experiment went off without a hitch, so she figured it would be safe. There are all sorts of assumptions and scenarios in which she could be more or less liable for irresponsible & dangerous activity.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I didn’t read it that way. That interpretation is still a gross exaggeration but it’s not as bad. Still, I’d argue that any life is better than death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TommyScott0 Tommy Scott

    Well this was around long before the inforgraphic.I remember these type of thin gs being done when I was in highschool.It is a very very dangerous thing.Not only the explosion is dangerous but it creates a toxic cloud that will kill you.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That 7am time stamp makes it worse, because she wasn’t even IN school at the time, just on school grounds. Most schools don’t start until 7:30 at the earliest.

    So this is a definite case of over reaction. That she did it on school grounds does make the school’s business, but at the same time, if she’d done this at the same time somewhere else, we wouldn’t even be hearing about this.

  • Canisa

    I bet she’ll get a sentence longer than a year, too.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I know plenty of people who went to those troubled student schools that are the only ones that’ll accept you after you’ve been expelled elsewhere.

    Some were on college track, some where not. None of them went. I was a college track kid who got booted out of honors into a delinquent kid class for no reason other than depression, and the rest of my schooling suffered for it, because it can dramatically impact a students drive and ambition to be put in class with kids who know they will never get a fair chance to succeed in life.

    By all accounts she’s a hardworking dedicated student. She won’t be after a year with kids who already know they’ve got no future.

    I hope that doesn’t happen, I hope she comes through this just as driven. But this young girl is disadvantaged enough(and no, the fact that the job market sucks for everyone doesn’t make it any better), and now the school system is about to cripple her even further.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    And she should be punished. In a manner commiserate with the crime.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The pleas for scholarship offers are to offset the damage being done to her educational prospects here with the expulsion, and felony charges.

    If she had just been suspended, nobody’d be saying a WORD about scholarships.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sawagner09 Stephanie Wagner

    It’s not the expulsion that will ruin her life. It’s the criminal charges if she is found guilty. They are trying her as an adult felon. That will follow her for the rest of her lift.

  • Anonymous

    They do something as bad in the Islamic countries: If caught stealing, the thief loses the hand that did the stealing… After that, the thief has only one other chance to rehabilitate.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m operating under the assumption that some sense will prevail here(because if I don’t I’ll cry), and the criminal charges will be dropped.

    The expulsion is still too much,

  • http://www.facebook.com/zahirrahman Zahir ‘Rabu’ Rahman

    She knew what she was doing! Everyone knows what a Draino bomb is. Its been in the news all over for years now. And it is dangerous and can cause serious injury. It seems that this incident did not cause any harm to anyone. She still needs to face the consequences. Had this incident caused a harm to a group of people the media would have easily had a completely different spin to it. However, she shouldn’t be tried as an adult since she is under age. The youth do make irresponsible decisions.

  • Arlo Barnes

    I agree that safety should be paramount when doing dangerous stuff, but it seems clear that she did not intend to ‘build a bomb carelessly’, but intended to witness a (potentially dangerous) chemical reaction.
    And don’t bring Boston into this, it has nothing to do with it. The brothers who created those bombs intended to hurt a lot of people, and succeeded. That does not mean people should be any less curious (or any less careful) about things that could be dangerous without safety measures in place.

    Relevant: Homer Hickam official Web site – The Dinosaur Hunter, October Sky/Rocket Boys.
    Some boys build rockets in West Virginia at the beginning of the space age. On one hand, a rocket goes rogue and heads towards a coal mining camp (!); on the other, they learn to be safe, most rockets succeed and do not threaten the safety of anyone, and several good effects come of it (a calculus class started at the local school after they desire the knowledge to build better exhaust nozzles, they go to a national science fair in Indianapolis, etc.).

  • http://twitter.com/capitolborn riri.

    say what now

  • Arlo Barnes

    “She told us everything and was very honest… We had a long conversation with her,” where Wilmot explained that she’d done it to see the chemical reaction it produced, “and was shocked by what it did.” In Pritchard’s opinion, “She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone.”

  • Arlo Barnes

    OK, I see your comment below on that and will respond separately.

  • http://twitter.com/CrazyCatTeen Abigail Wallace

    Oh, but trying the gang-rapists as adults could ruin their chances of getting into a good college! All that could happen for this girl is that she might have difficulty getting a job, or her own house, or the right to vote, and why should she fret her pretty head about those things anyway?

  • Anonymous

    Simple questions – had your child received chemical burns from this incident, would you still be saying “no big deal”? Had the incident resulted in a fire, would you still be saying “oh, just give her a talking-to”? Both were possible outcomes; the chemicals involved were caustic, and the chemical reaction produces hydrogen gas.

    I certainly agree that felony charges are outrageous, but the folks who are saying that the appropriate response is nothing more than a talking-to (or “recruitment to AP Chemistry” – yeesh) are off the mark. Schools have to be concerened with what COULD happen, as well as with ACTUALLY happens.

    Consider the Portland case, from March of this year – a 14-year-old kid mixed ammonia and bleach in a bottle, took it to school, and wound up putting a half-dozen people in the hospital for chloramine gas inhalation. He was expelled and ultimately convicted of several misdemeanors.

    So, what’s it going to be? How do you expect the school to distinguish among incidents, or even anticipate them? Consider that a student doing the same thing on a larger scale (say, a larger bottle, concentrated lye instead of the typical toilet bowl cleaner, etc.) could easily have caused injury and/or damage; are we going to expect the schools to start making distinctions like that?

  • Arlo Barnes

    The word you want is ‘commensurate’. To commiserate is to complain about something with someone (Misery loves company).

  • Mina

    You’re kidding. My mind is having genuine difficulty accepting this as real. This is absolutely absurd.

  • Arlo Barnes

    I still am not sure what your stance is. Clearly she knew there was a reaction, perhaps did not know how violent it would be (not very, but enough for concern as the same type of reaction can do some damage), and it seems clear she intended to create said reaction.
    Are you suggesting that she made it as a bomb to harm people? The fact she made it on a (presumably empty, because of the time) football field suggests otherwise. She endangered herself, but it seems that was not her intent, which is what the criminal conviction would assert.

  • Life Lessons

    Two thoughts:
    1) Let’s punish young women for being smart = Sexist BS.
    2) Perhaps this young woman is not of white European descent = Racist
    I’m also wondering if there is some classist nonsense going on in here as well.
    Dear adults: GROW UP AND CHILL THE FRAK OUT!

  • CuriousMe

    I never said she intended to harm others. She did clearly intended to blow up a bottle (if she just wanted to see the materials react, she could have done it in an open container…she didn’t, she did it in a sealed container). This wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t an experiment gone awry done in a lab with supervision (she very intentionally avoided any supervision).

    There were plenty of ways for a smart kid to figure out that this was going to blow up. That she may have been surprised at the strength of the reaction is immaterial. This wasn’t an accident, this was an intentional action.

  • Arlo Barnes

    How do you propose the National Guard would ‘get rid of the racists’?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    If people were hurt, the EFFECTS would be difference, the CRIME would be different, so yes, then the PUNISHMENT would be different.

    Just like if I’m speeding and hit something, but no one’s hurt, I face a speeding ticket and an increase in insurance premium. If I’m speeding and hit something, and someone’s killed, I face vehicular manslaughter.

    Not complicated.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Thanks, broken brain, no boss at work.

  • Arlo Barnes

    Many chemical reactions have the possibility of something dangerous happening, including this one. It would be quite a task to specifically educate people about *all* of them.
    Better to do what chem labs and responsible individual experimenters already do: treat everything as potentially dangerous, and be prepared, not scared.

  • Arlo Barnes

    I don’t fault anybody for repeatedly posting comments, as it is simply to compensate for a commenting system where one comment can not be programmatically made to be a reply to multiple other comments.
    I do think further research before judgment is made is a good thing, and regret I did not do it sooner (although the outcome is not dramatically different in this case). No matter to what extent we research it, we do not know the girl or her intents beyond what she and others have stated, which we have to take at face value unless we have a good reason not to. For that matter we don’t know the thinking of school officials beyond what they have said.

  • Arlo Barnes

    Hey, I know some pretty cool people in their 90s. Age has little to do with it.

  • Larry Pfeffer

    If anybody reading this knows of a legal defense fund for Kiera Wilmot, would you kindly post a link or contact information? I’d like to contribute to her defense — and I doubt I’m the only one!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Raichan22 Rachael Westphal

    Actually I can see why the school did this as soon as I read what she used. It’s been going around the net, and a lot of assholes have been leaving bottles like this in people’s yards so that when a person goes to pick it up it shakes it just enough to explode. People are doing it in more explosive quantities though. I feel bad for her, but oh well.

  • http://twitter.com/Mirithklang Kimberley Lang

    A little girl was arrested and expelled for playing around with a science experiment..that didn’t go off well. Anne Rice, who couldn’t bear criticism, promptly inflamed an angry mob. . Those are completely different things. The only similarity would be that Anne Rice and the school system were both woefully wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraTruxillo Laura Truxillo

    Several people on this very section are saying that she shouldn’t be punished, that students do this all the time, that it was a completely harmless experiment, that she should be commended, given a scholarship, that she produced A+ work and should go to AP chemistry.

    Honestly, I think that’s what’s got my responses in this section so pissed off. The criminal charges? Frakking insane, and I’ll be honest, I can’t really imagine a white boy in Florida up against the same. The expulsion…a bit excessive, a suspension would’ve been more reasonable. But sheesh, there is a middle ground between “She’s a terrorist” and “She’s a Curious Genius” and it’s baffling to see everyone hop straight towards the Curious Genius one, as if that exaggeration will outweigh the horrible decisions being made by the people with the power to screw her over.

    I know you’re not saying she shouldn’t be punished at all. Just that a lot of people here are.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    You’re right, but that has nothing to do with I said, so good job. I was comparing two gross exaggerations made recently about two topics that were both news on this website. Two gross exaggerations are similar in that it’s irritating that people can say inflammatory things that have no basis in reality and people will read them and agree rather than think for themselves.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    They’re going to cut out her brain for thinking science thoughts.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Goddamn right.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    And yet maybe children shouldn’t be encouraged to possibly blow themselves up in protest for another student that luckily caused no damage to herself or others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1064437317 Thalia Sutton

    Straight to Change.org and the president for an official pardon.

  • Anonymous

    Its ok when teachers abuse their students and the union contracts require they still be paid and can’t be fired, but an intelligent student accidentally scratches another student with a pencil while walking up a crowded aisle and they are charged with a felony and ruined for life. Way to go PC police…

  • Anonymous

    Just this last week, my co-worker was regaling us with stories about how his high school buddy made enough c-4 to warrant the bomb squad coming in, blocking off the neighborhood to removing it, and giving him a stern lecture that next time he’d be in big trouble.

  • Anonymous

    I think scholarship might be a little too much, but I don’t think recruiting her for AP Chem or similar would be too out of line. Punish her appropriately for doing something dangerous on school grounds, (like a suspension) than channel her curiosity into something positive.

    Her fate is really in her own hands, but I can’t help but think of all those famous ground-breakers (scientists, entrepreneurs, social advocates etc) who have stories about doing something stupid as a kid, and being compassionately redirected to something positive and about criminals who did something stupid as a kid and were punished harshly and became career criminals. Its our responsibility as adults to give kids the best chance possible to be better people, and part of that is to not only teach them not do wrong but how they can actually do it right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/saronai Saronai Aldarion

    I’ll agree this simile could use some work. First of all, in my opinion, she didn’t do anything illegal to begin with…which shoplifting is illegal. Everyone knows it’s wrong, and if you don’t, you’re either lying or need serious help discerning between right or wrong and you’d be doing it without trying to hide it and you wouldn’t sometimes pay for stuff. Even if the shoplifter suffered from uncontrollable kleptomania it still doesn’t compare to what this young woman did. She didn’t do wrong, she just made a mistake that cost no one around her a thing because she was interested in science.

    I realize your point was an exaggerated sentence for something minor, but I feel like it’s a disservice to this young woman that her part in the simile version is a crime, minor or not. She didn’t commit any crime, even jay walking as her part in the simile would be a disservice.

    It’s more like excitedly shouting, “I wanna be a chemist!” and maybe breaking an indoor voices rule. Then, getting expelled and arrested and charged with felony possession and illegal substance distribution because you’re a black female interested in a science that produces meth in secret labs which apparently you absolutely must be part of…being black and…well, we don’t want girls in science anyway.

    Mine might not be good either, but I still think it’s a disservice to Kiera, placing her in the position of doing an actual crime in a simile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/saronai Saronai Aldarion
  • http://adornyourhearts.tumblr.com Xomyx

    Florida is the same state that locked up a black woman for shooting a warning shot in the air, hurting no one, to scare off her abusive husband. Sense may not prevail because its not a fair system we’re dealing with, but a racist one.

  • Thunder Moon

    There’s something wrong with this country

  • Anonymous

    To be clear, I don’t think that she committed a crime, and I don’t think that the police should have been involved. (Actually, we had a near identical incident that resulted in an in-school suspension, but I digress.)

    However, if her school’s policies are anything like mine, unsupervised chemistry is against the rules and would result in disciplinary action by the school. I don’t think it’s unfair to make an analogy between one level of rule-breaking and another (especially as, apparently, they are both given to gross miscarriages of justice).

  • Anonymous

    wow.

  • john smith

    Madness? THIS- IS- AMERICAAA!

  • http://twitter.com/Bennjoon Charlie

    This is insane. I don’t understand how the guy is talking like she’s murdered someone or something. “She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone.” But…but she DIDN’T hurt anyone…

  • http://www.facebook.com/xNero93 Alexandr Serbajev

    How can homemade explosives that pop bottle caps hurt anyone? Are you a retard? And how do you think this would happen? Her making bottle mines?
    Seriously dude. Have you ever heard about things called firecrackers? In my school half of the class during 9th grade were playing with those on school grounds and no one got hurt.

  • Anonymous

    Pardon my French, but what the fuck is it with Florida and all the stupid shit that goes on there on a regular basis? Is it something in the water there or are the state and education authorities inbred fucktards or something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.emory.9 Carol Emory

    Has anyone thought to call the NAACP and get them involved? These are the kind of cases that they salivate to get their hands on. I tried to e-mail them a link to this page but it keeps erroring out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Sheesh. You know, someone criticizing a culture or a pattern isn’t a cause to pull out the trite and tired, “Well, not ALL of us are like that…”

    Sounds like when a man stumbles upon a discussion about pervasive sexism, and immediately starts explaining how ‘not all men are like that.’

    It derails from the point. We’ll never get anywhere if we keep boomeranging back to individuals who, despite being part of a group in a larger system, are convinced their exceptional individuality is what truly deserves the spotlight in issues like these.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devrie-Paradowski/519479611 Devrie Paradowski

    To be completely honest, you don’t have to be AP material to know that putting toilet bowl cleaner in a bottle with tin foil might do stuff. Kids are recruited to AP classes based on their academic history. I’m sure she violated some known school policy here. Felony charges and complete expulsion from school seem too much for a kid who has had a decent behavior track record. She’s a decent kid who made a stupid decision that didn’t result in any harm to anyone, nor was it intended to harm anyone. She should have had a suspension, and maybe her chemistry teacher could have used this opportunity to teach her or her classmates why that reaction happens in the bottle. Her parents should discipline her, but they should also set some time aside to encourage her curiosity. Her curiosity is something to explore, but that doesn’t make her a rocket-scientist.

  • fadumpt

    actually it sounds like it went exactly how it was supposed to. in a normal state, it would have been fine and probably have started a discussion and further experimentation in the science classes. #florida

  • http://twitter.com/Totz_the_Plaid Totz_the_Plaid

    I do. In this particular case, in fact. All charges have been dropped thanks to the linked petition.

  • Anonymous

    absolutely. in fact, we should completely get rid of science and chemistry in school. this sort of thing is inevitable. knowledge is too dangerous to be just given out to everyone. after all, its not like any of these kids are going to ever amount to anything. or any kids really. we should reserve school to the children of the wealthy and privileged. think of all the money we would save paying for public school education.

  • Anonymous

    it occurs to me that some people may actually not realize i am being a smartass here, so I am going to go ahead and be clear. I am being a smartass.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    You’re shit at it.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    That’s ridiculous and has nothing to do with the protest I disagreed with. The protest that involves possibly dangerous explosions. None of the things you said have anything to do with it.

  • http://www.clpnation.com/ Alec “B. Nyce” Burnright

    you missed the point jackass. enjoy your freedom on the outside.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Alright. Enjoy…daycare?

  • Emily Hill

    I smell racists I mean can you really tell me if she was white she have gotten this same treatment? oh hell its not even racists if your different in anyway you get punished why the quote un quote normal kid get’s off scott free trust me I dealt with this crap in school because I was the chubby book worm and when I told teachers and my parents were called they told my parents I was the problem oh yeah I just sit minding my own business at lunch and its my fault a bully punched me in the face