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Florida Teen Kiera Wilmot Arrested, Expelled over School ‘Science Project’

Kiera Wilmot

Kiera Wilmot

A Central Florida teen was arrested and expelled from her high school over what she claims was a harmless extracurricular science project involving an exploding water bottle.

By all accounts, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot was a model student.

“She is a good kid,” Ron Pritchard, the principal at Bartow High Schooltold WTSP. “She has never been in trouble before. Ever.”

That’s all changed now, however.

According to the Ledger, Wilmot was arrested last Monday after she allegedly brought a bottle filled with an explosive mixture of toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil to school in what her friends and classmates called “a science project gone bad.” The volatile mixture caused the bottle to explode weakly, causing some noise and a little smoke outside the school building and away from most students and staff. No one was hurt. Nothing was damaged but Wilmot’s future, as she was arrested and charged with “possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device”– both felonies.

Wilmot will be tried as an adult, the Miami New Times reports. She was also expelled from Bartow High and will now complete her secondary education in an expulsion program.

“She made a bad choice,” Pritchard told WTSP. “Honestly, I don’t think she ever meant to hurt anyone. She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked too.”

“I heard she didn’t want to hurt anyone at all,” student Dynequa Price told WTSP. “It was a science project.”

Polk County Schools released the following statement regarding the incident:

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.

But apparently it will compromise a promising student’s future by involving police in what appears to be a case of nothing more than scientific curiosity.

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4 Comments

  1. slothrrMay 2, 2013 at 9:53 amReply

    Here is a petition urging the Polk County School District not to expel Kiera and to support their science students instead:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/polk-county-school-district-don-t-expel-kiera-wilmot

    • Brett WilkinsMay 2, 2013 at 10:06 amReplyAuthor

      Thanks for posting this link.

  2. HaileMay 2, 2013 at 8:07 pmReply

    The trouble with this investigation is that the child made a very bad bad decision. Thank God that no one was hurt. This incident should be in no uncertain be brought severely to everyone in the school.. Suspending her. Jailing her for two serious felonies is not the answer. Put her on probation if you want. Give her a most severe tongue lashing. You see the intent is not there and even though we want to uphold our rules, it seems that in this paticular case it seems wiser to not ruin her young like at this point.Many of us made something of our lives because some grown up on our journey gave us a break or guidance.. I am by no means condoning the act but I am pleased to see the whole world coming to her aid. I hope that they keep it up and not let it fall beween the cracks.

  3. OMGJuly 15, 2013 at 12:10 pmReply

    I’m seeing the beginnings of a pattern I don’t like one bit. Even though this story (Kiera’s) is older this reminds me too much of what happened with Justin Carter. He bragged about how crazy he was on facebook when discussing WoW and mentioned that he is so crazy that he could shoot up a kindergarten and mentioned he could even eat the heart of kids too.

    Needless to say not all the people who saw that post thought it was funny and he is currently out on $500 000 bail and he is in deep trouble.

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