After conducting what was purported as a harmless science experiment, an official police report states that star pupil and honor student Kiera Wilmot was charged with two felonies: possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device.
According to the Miami New Times, Kiera and a friend mixed aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a small plastic bottle early Monday morning on Bartow High School grounds in Bartow, Florida. The reaction created pressure inside the bottle, blowing the cap off, and according to witnesses, it sounded like firecrackers being set off, creating a small amount of smoke. No one was hurt by the explosion. Later that day, Kiera was handcuffed, arrested, and expelled from school.
Administrators at the Polk County School District maintain that Kiera was in direct violation of the school's code of conduct, which requires immediate expulsion for any "student in possession of a bomb (or) explosive device ... while at a school (or) a school-sponsored activity... 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." Wilmot told police that she did the experiment to prepare for an upcoming science fair, but when police spoke with her science teacher, he claimed to know nothing of the experiment.
Combining aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner is a commonly performed science experiment, and scientists around the world are showing support for Kiera by tweeting about the mayhem that they got into as kids, including explosions and fires.
Considering the events of the past few months around the nation, we have a certain level of understanding for the school wanting to crack down on any explosion-like activity. Unfortunately for Kiera, her seemingly innocent science experiment has cost her the rest of her high school experience and the ability to walk across the stage for her diploma.