Failed student science project results in expulsion, felony charges
BARSTOW, Fla. — A Florida teenager with an “exemplary record” was arrested and expelled from her high school for conducting a science experiment which had the wrong results.
Kiera Wilmot, a student at Bartow High School, is facing two felony charges for the incident, which includes making or attempting to make a destructive device. She had mixed toilet bowl cleaner and pieces of aluminum foil in a tiny water bottle.
Wilmot told police she thought the concoction would result in a little smoke. Instead, the bottle exploded, according to the Barstow Police Department report,
A spokesperson for the Florida State Attorney’s office said the case is currently under investigation and would not be commenting further.
The 16-year-old was in the school yard working on the experiment, according to the police report. The project was not part of a class assignment and no one was injured in the incident.
Bartow High School Principal Ron Pritchard told television station WTSP that Wilmot had an exemplary record and she is known around campus as a good student.
“She’s is a good kid,” the principal said. “she has never been in trouble before. Ever.”
According to the police report, Wilmot told police she was in no way trying to hurt
anyone or create a disruption of school.
The principal agreed and said she simply made a bad decision.
“Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone,” he told the television station. “She wanted to see what would happen when the chemicals mixed and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too.”
The principal said the young lady was completely up front and honest about what happened.
“She didn’t run or try to hide the truth,” he said.
Nevertheless, the school district called the police, had her arrested and expelled her from school.
“There are consequences to actions,” read a statement from Polk County Schools.
“Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us.”
The district told the television station that the incident “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,” the statement read. “We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff.”
The Wilmot family declined to comment. The district said she will complete her education at an alternative school.