Kiera Wilmot is a sixteen year old, by all accounts a good student, who did a chemistry experiment in school. This experiment has resulted in being expelled from Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida and being charged with two adult felonies, including discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.
This seems pretty serious. Without further information one might think she was trying to create a bomb on the premises, or had caused severe damage to the property, or to another individual. But no, nothing of the sort happened. There was no resulting damage to school property, no one was injured, and in fact she did not run from the scene, but was immediately honest and acted responsibly.
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. [ blogs.miaminewstimes ]
Kiera Wilmot’s Expulsion
Kiera Wilmot was expelled from the school on the grounds she violated Section 7.05 of the school’s conduct code. Here’s that passage from the code:
A student who is in possession of a bomb, explosive device, or substance or materials intended for use in a bomb or explosive device or substance while at school or a school sponsored activity, on School Board property or a school bus (unless the material or device is being used as part of a legitimate school-related activity or science project conducted under the supervision of an instructor with the knowledge and consent of the principal), is guilty of a serious breach of conduct punishable as follows: Expulsion from School (for not less than one full year)
“…or substance or materials intended for use in a bomb or explosive device or substance while at school or a school sponsored activity…”
Is there any evidence that this student intended this experiment for use as a bomb or an explosive device?
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.” [ themarysue.com ]
She’d never been in trouble, she was honest, and the principle doesn’t think she had any ill intent. But she was expelled under a clause which explicitly requires intent to result in the punishment of expulsion. Chemistry is a dangerous business. Often there’s chemical showers and eye washers for when things go awry. I remember using bunsen burners, with gas taps throughout the whole room any student could turn on, and we also experimented with sulfuric and hydrochloric acid. She made a mistake, she’s 16, she was acting with scientific curiosity by all accounts. Expulsion? Well, if the only punishment was expulsion I’d still be crying foul, but as I alluded to before, it gets far worse for Kiera Wilmot.
Felony Charges Against Kiera Wilmot
After the explosion Wilmot was taken into custody by a school resources officer and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She will be tried as an adult.
She was then taken to a juvenile assessment center. She was also expelled from school and will be forced to complete her diploma through an expulsion program. [ blogs.miaminewstimes.com ]
16 years old, expelled from school and being tried as an adult on two accounts of felony charges. This is an abomination. Anyone notice a trend for people to wind up in the ‘justice’ system all too easily in the US these days? Well, there are exceptions to that rule, ones that involve wealth and power, as we will touch on in a moment.
For what it’s worth, you can visit change.org to sign a petition to help Kiera Wilmot and bring further exposure to this disturbing story.
To put this story in the full perceptual scope of its grotesqueness, let’s consider the blast at the fertilizer plant in Texas that claimed the lives of 15 and wounded over 150.
The fertilizer plant, owned by Adair Grain Inc., was cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2006 for failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit.
In a safety report filed with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the fertilizer company swore it was at no risk of fire or explosion, according to documents obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
“West Fertilizer Co. reported having as much as 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals,” the newspaper reported.
But the company checked the “NO” box when asked if there was any risk of fire or explosion, according to the Dallas paper, which did not specify the date of the report. [ nydailynews.com ]
Has anyone been charged with a felony yet over this blast? No… No, they have not. I’d say ‘funny that’, but it’s not funny at all. It’s pathetic. Support Kiera Wilmot. Support common decency, fairness, and the pursuit of scientific endeavors by students without being vilified if you make a bad decision with no ill intent towards others.