Florida Teenager Expelled, Arrested for Accidental "Science Experiment" Explosion
May 3, 2013 2:00 PM
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She was arrested and charged for possession and discharge of a weapon on school property too
A teenage girl from Florida has been expelled from her high school for an accidental explosion caused by mixing chemicals together [outside] on school grounds.
Kiera Wilmot, 16, a Bartow High School student in Florida, was expelled from school when her chemistry experiment exploded. She was mixing some household chemicals (toilet cleaner and aluminum foil) in an 8-ounce water bottle when the top popped off unexpectedly and an explosion occurred.
According to Wilmot, she thought this combination would simply create a bit of smoke, and that the explosion was an accident.
However, Wilmot was arrested on Monday and charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.
She was also expelled from school, and will now have to continue her high school career in an expulsion program.
These extreme consequences are due to zero-tolerance programs, which were enacted in schools in 1994. At that time, Congress required states to adopt laws that expelled students who brought firearms to school for at least a year. All 50 states adopted the laws in order to receive federal funding.
Many are in opposition of these laws, saying that it isn't fair to good kids who make occasional mistakes. Many oppose what happened to Wilmot as well, but the school district has responded to the incident saying that they reacted properly, as the law requires.
"Unfortunately, what she did falls into our code of conduct," Leah Lauderdale, a spokeswoman for the district, tells Riptide. "It's grounds for immediate expulsion.
"We urge our parents to convey to their kids that there are consequences to their actions."
Lauderdale said Wilmot can
challenge her expulsion
, but there's no word on whether she has or not at this point.
Miami New Times
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RE: Disgusting and short-sighted
5/6/2013 7:40:16 PM
My bias comes from my own experience as a high school student experimenting with dangerous things, not from an article I read on the internet. If you think kids are supervised in school, especially high school, you are very naive.
I went to an inner city high school (and I have a bachelor's degree, so you could say that I went to school). We had security guards whose job it was to make sure riots didn't break out. They weren't always successful. Students sold and used drugs on campus. Fights were routine. I was free to do essentially whatever I wanted as long as I stayed on campus and wasn't damaging school property or being conspicuous about not being in class. Your school might have had supervision, but I assure you it is not the norm.
If she had sinister intent, why did she tell adults about what she did? She wanted to see what would happen if she mixed two things together in a closed space. She believed she would get smoke. She observed that an explosion took place. Observe, Hypothesize, Test. That's science. In an era of Observe, Hypothesize, Believe (Looking at you AGW), most people wouldn't know science if it took their mom to prom.
If you believe the action the school and law enforcement too won't discourage kids from doing things that might not turn out exactly the way they think, you don't understand kids. Teens are risk takers. They're explorers. She was doing what is normal and healthy for her age and intellect. These nanny-state thugs came in and said "OH NO! We might get sued!" And took an innocent child's innocence away. I guarantee you this is not about her safety because their reaction to a legitimate experiment has done more harm to this child than anything else in the situation.
Example of the right reaction from my history:
Me: "My friend and I melted sugar and salt peter down and poured it into aluminum cans (cut in half) then stuck strike anywhere matches in the mixture before it solidified. It made a wicked red flame, a ton of white smoke and burned so hot, there wasn't anything left of the can when it was done"
My Dad: "Cool! The salt peter acted as an oxidizer and the sugar was the fuel. You need to be careful when you do that though. You don't want to start a fire when you set it off, so make sure there aren't any overhead branches, you're far away from buildings and there isn't any loose debris on the ground. Also, when you melt it down, if you aren't careful with the heat, it will ignite while you're mixing it and could burn the house down. And don't use your mom's pots."
End result is I enjoyed science, which is more than we can say about science class. No one went to jail. No one got suspended. No one got hurt. Everyone had a good time. Exact opposite of this poor girl's experience.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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