Don't Charge Florida Girl with Felony for Science Experiment!

Like all young women, sixteen-year old Kiera Wilmot was curious. Like all teenagers in America, she was taught to think creatively. So why has she been permanently expelled from Bartow High School and facing felony charges for conducting an impromptu science experiment?

Wilmot was curious about how two common household products -- toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil -- would react, so she mixed them together in a water bottle. To her surprise and everyone else's, these seemingly harmless, grocery store items caused a small explosion. However, no one was hurt and no school property was damaged.

Certainly, Wilmot made a mistake. But the penalty her school has imposed is far too harsh. She is currently facing the felony charges of discharging a weapon and will have to stand trial as an adult. Additionally, she has been permanently expelled from her high school.

Please ask Polk County School District to drop the felony charges against this student and let her return to high school immediately!

We the undersigned agree that students should not conduct unsupervised chemistry experiments in public school. However, we believe the penalties against Kiera Wilmot are far too harsh.

Wilmot was exercising her imagination as we are sure she has been encouraged to do--often, and by the grown ups in her life. She was curious about how two household products would act, so she combined them. It is obvious she did not mean for any harm to come from this experiment. And, as it happens, no one was hurt, nor was any property damaged.

Wilmot is a good student whose previously unblemished school record should argue on her behalf for a more lenient punishment. Perhaps a community service project would be a better, fairer penalty for this bright, curious young woman. Certainly expulsion and standing trial as a criminal--when she is only 16--is far too harsh. Please drop the weapons charges against her and allow her to return to Bartow High School.

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