Charges dropped against teen in science experiment ‘bomb’

0

It's more enjoyable when sense doesn't prevail.

It allows for so much more humor and head-shaking.


However, Kiera Wilmot has probably shaken her head enough lately and will now be grateful for a little stillness.

Should you have been unaccountably arrested for expectorating in your high school cafeteria recently, you might not have heard about Wilmot.

One morning at Bartow High School in Florida, she put toilet cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle to see what might happen. It was just, she said, an experiment.

Even her school principal admitted that it merely sounded like a firecracker.

However, she found herself expelled from school and arrested for felonious possession/discharge of a dangerous weapon.

It emerged that the same D.A who charged her had, two days previously, decided not to charge a 13-year-old who shot dead his 10-year-old brother.

However, now there is some good news. Or, at least, sane news. The criminal charges have been dropped. She will not have to live her life as a felon.

Written By: Chris Matyszczyk
continue to source article at news.cnet.com

NO COMMENTS

  1. >

    It emerged that the same D.A who charged her had, two days previously, decided not to charge a 13-year-old who shot dead his 10-year-old brother.

    Ah yes, the country where using your brain is a greater danger than using a gun!

    • In reply to #1 by SomersetJohn:

      It emerged that the same D.A who charged her had, two days previously, decided not to charge a 13-year-old who shot dead his 10-year-old brother.

      Ah yes, the country where using your brain is a greater danger than using a gun!

      I bet the other kid was was White. I can’t tell from this much data, but subconscious racism is so prevalent I would like to know more. Felony dropped? Guess she will be able to vote… for now.

  2. We so often fall prey to a news industry that is more interested in being the first with a story rather than getting the story correct.

    I think that this is a symptom of that exact malady. The story of her arrest made headlines while the story of her exoneration will not even register. If you google her, she still will have the stigma of this event following her, even though it was (in retrospect) a non-event.

    It is actually reassuring that an explosion in a high school was investigated and the reason for the explosion figured out and deemed harmless. The system worked. However, due to the over reporting of every nuance of every moment, this young lady will be ever associated with this silly little nothing of an event.

    Meanwhile, all across America, people who actually commit heinous crimes have their identities withheld from the stories because of their age or the fact that they haven’t been convicted of anything. “Alleged murderer”… “alleged arsonist”…. “alleged rapist”….

    Common sense did prevail; but the damage is done.

    • It’s more enjoyable when sense doesn’t prevail.

      No, it’s not.

      In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

      If you google her, she still will have the stigma of this event following her, even though it was (in retrospect) a non-event.

      What stigma?

      The system worked.

      No, it didn’t. It seldom does. Fortunately, in this case they were publicly shamed into dropping these ridiculous charges.

      • The stigma of being guilty of this before she was found to have done nothing wrong. When she is vetted for a job and the HR dep’t googles her. She will be the “chemistry student gone awry”.
        THAT stigma.

        If you do not live in the world of prospective employers googling prospective employees and reading the first hit to come up, then I guess you might not realize this is going to “tag” her forever. If you also think that prospective employers will flip to page 10 of the google search to find that she was exonerated (you give them a lot of credit), I just am not sure they would.

        The system absolutely worked. She did something marginal and questionable. She essentially made THERMITE as a “rogue” chemistry experiment. What if this was a trial run for a bigger and more ambitious “plot”?

        It was stopped and scrutinized and ultimately she was cleared of wrongdoing. I think this clearing of her from felony charges entailed those in authority doing some fact finding and perhaps knowing some facts that we are not privy to. Also, the “public shaming” that followed is PART of the system. So, it worked.

        You think that a blind eye should be turned to a student making a mini bomb? When the situation was assessed, she was cleared. If a blind eye was turned and two weeks from now the gymnasium exploded, then what?

        BTW, the only way to ignite this mixture is with a magnesium ribbon or a sparkler. A match or bunsen burner will not burn hot enough to get the job done. Still think it was an accident?

        In reply to #3 by Peter Grant:

        It’s more enjoyable when sense doesn’t prevail.

        No, it’s not.

        In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

        If you google her, she still will have the stigma of this event following her, even though it was (in retrospect) a non-event.

        What stigma?

        The system worked.

        No, it didn’t. It seldom does. Fortunatel…

        • In reply to #6 by crookedshoes:

          If you also think that prospective employers will flip to page 10 of the google search to find that she was exonerated (you give them a lot of credit), I just am not sure they would.

          Prospective employers with sufficient scientific knowledge shouldn’t need to.

          Also, the “public shaming” that followed is PART of the system. So, it worked.

          How convenient for the system.

          BTW, the only way to ignite this mixture is with a magnesium ribbon or a sparkler. A match or bunsen burner will not burn hot enough to get the job done. Still think it was an accident?

          A solution of sodium hydroxide should react with aluminium spontaneously at room temperature and I never suggested that what she did was accidental.

          • So, I am confused by your stance. If she purposely set off this chemical reaction in a classroom, why shouldn’t it be investigated?

            Am I reading you wrong? Allow me to begin again.

            1. Why exactly did the system not work?

            2. Why do you suppose a prospective employer will be scientifically literate? Or more directly…. you do not see the potential for this to stigmatize her?

            Where I work if two kids get into a fistfight, they arrest both and then figure it out at the police station. Usually it is found out that one attacked the other and it is sorted out. Please remember, we are talking about a school here; where a couple thousand children go every day and must be kept safe.

            And, i stand corrected on the mixture igniting at room temp. You are right.

            In reply to #7 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #6 by crookedshoes:

            If you also think that prospective employers will flip to page 10 of the google search to find that she was exonerated (you give them a lot of credit), I just am not sure they would.

            Prospective employers with sufficient scientific knowledge souldn’t need to.

            Also,…

          • In reply to #8 by crookedshoes:

            Where I work if two kids get into a fistfight, they arrest both and then figure it out at the police station.

            That’s the problem, right there.

            And, i stand corrected on the mixture igniting at room temp. You are right.

            Good. I wouldn’t really call it an ignition though, it just sort of bubbles and gets a bit warm.

          • I agree that arresting both is a problem. But, the adults in the building are not trusted as witnesses and the litigious nature of the parents warrants that the district and township protect themselves from lawsuit by abiding by the laws that have been enacted by the people’s votes and appointees within the district/municipality itself.

            The school has to abide by the laws it has been handed. You have a problem with the school following the law or the law itself?

            Also, realize that every bit of every day is video taped in the hallways and cafeterias of many many high schools.

            And, I still do not understand the problem you have with the stigma statement.

            All minor things surrounding a minor issue, but as long as we are here, we may as well talk.

            In reply to #9 by Peter Grant:

            In reply to #8 by crookedshoes:

            Where I work if two kids get into a fistfight, they arrest both and then figure it out at the police station.

            That’s the problem, right there.

            And, i stand corrected on the mixture igniting at room temp. You are right.

            Good. I wouldn’t really call it an ignition t…

          • In reply to #10 by crookedshoes:

            I agree that arresting both is a problem.

            Arresting either one of them is a problem, these are children FFS!

            And, I still do not understand the problem you have with the stigma statement.

            She may not be able to get a job at Burger King, but I’ll bet at least a few universities will be willing to accept her, if she graduates.

        • In reply to #6 by crookedshoes:

          She essentially made THERMITE as a “rogue” chemistry experiment.

          Whoa whoa whoa! Whoa. Where are you getting thermite, of all things, from? She popped the cap off a bottle with hydrogen gas from the reaction of aluminum and sodium hydroxide. You’re looking at a pressure pop. There was no explosion, no flame, very little heat and certainly no thermite. I don’t really know where you’re coming from here, but aside from maybe giving herself a black eye with a flying plastic cap, nobody was at risk here.

          Seriously, though, where are you getting this thermite business from?

  3. Of course she knew what would happen if she put those things in a bottle together. Why else would she have done it? Oops, I just wanted to see what happened when I mixed powdered rust and aluminum and lit them with a magnesium strip. Thermite? Never would have expected that!

  4. They are not all children. Once again, the law asserts that you can be in high school until you are 21 years old. 21!!!!! The teacher may be 22 and fresh out of college. So, a 22 year old is responsible for supervising a group of 21 year olds. And when they fight they fight. We are talking aggressive assault.

    If two kids swing each other around by the collar and holler profanity, that is different than four kids stomping another student with a wooden chair.

    Last year two girls (18 year olds) were fighting in our main hall and a teacher tried to break it up. He was “high – lowed” or “table topped” and has had significant neurological episodes ever since not to mention two of his teeth were knocked out. I know his children; he hasn’t been able to lift either of them for a year.

    You are not in touch with what a modern functioning high school is. How it lives and breathes.

    My initial comment was meant to be an indictment of the media; not of this young lady. BUT, she may have been up to something and that type of thing needs to be clearly investigated.

    PS. She may need a job at Burger King WHILE going to college.

    • In reply to #12 by crookedshoes:

      You are not in touch with what a modern functioning high school is. How it lives and breathes.

      It may live and breath, but it hardly seems functional. My schooling was slightly less violent, but I would never have called it functional. Your faith in the system seems oddly misplaced.

      My initial comment was meant to be an indictment of the media; not of this young lady.

      The media probably saved her.

  5. Apologies all around. Upon rereading the OP, I realized I read what I wanted to read instead of what was actually there. I read oxidized iron rust and aluminum. I now reread and see that it was less a dramatic mixture of toilet cleaner and aluminum… I thought she was being much more aggressive in her rogue experimentation.

    In either case, my indictment of the media (rushing to be first rather than correct) and my claim that this stinks because of the stigma now associated with this young lady still stands. My rush to defend the school is perhaps a bias I carry because I work in a school and love what I do…. I will work on it!

    And, Peter Grant, you have been great all through our conversation… i enjoyed talking. I know I work in a dysfunctional system, but it is the sandbox that I have been issued and I try to maximize. Faith in the system??? Maybe, faith in myself and my students? Absolutely.

    Thanks for talking to me and those that corrected me, thanks for making me learn. Someone learned here today. That makes it a pretty good day!

    • In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

      Apologies all around. Upon rereading the OP, I realized I read what I wanted to read instead of what was actually there. I read oxidized iron rust and aluminum. I now reread and see that it was less a dramatic mixture of toilet cleaner and aluminum… I thought she was being much more aggressive…

      From various other sources I inferred, rightly or wrongly, that the experiment was carried out outdoors and on the edge of school property. A small water bottle was used and a student observed that its top blew off.

      The expulsion should now be reviewed and in my view revoked.

    • In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

      And, Peter Grant, you have been great all through our conversation… i enjoyed talking. I know I work in a dysfunctional system, but it is the sandbox that I have been issued and I try to maximize. Faith in the system??? Maybe, faith in myself and my students? Absolutely.

      No worries! The handful of inspirational educators like yourself are the only reason this dysfunctional system ever works at all.

  6. She made Drano. The relevant reaction goes something like 2 Al + 6 H2O > 2 Al(OH)3 + 3 H2

    The hydrogen then burns explosively.

    The sodium hydroxide strips the protective layer off the aluminum. The reaction is analogous to what happens when you put sodium metal in water.

    I had an embarrassing incident with store-bought Drano. It said to rinse the pipes thoroughly with cold water afterward. It ate right through the pipes, but I did not notice. I turned on the water and left it running and went to sleep. I awoke to discover the apartment flooded and so the apartment below with the landlord pounding on the door.

    • In reply to #20 by Roedy:

      She made Drano. The relevant reaction goes something like 2 Al + 6 H2O > 2 Al(OH)3 + 3 H2

      The hydrogen then burns explosively.

      The sodium hydroxide strips the protective layer off the aluminum. The reaction is analogous to what happens when you put sodium metal in water.

      I had an embarrassing i…

      The hydrogen doesn’t get ignited unless you apply a flame.

Leave a Reply