Science Project Explosion Leads to Florida Teen’s Arrest, Expulsion


Concern over the Newtown school massacre and the Boston Marathon bombings contributed to the arrest of Florida high school student Kiera Wilmot, 16, for causing an explosion on the school grounds while testing a potential science fair project, her attorney tells the Orlando Sentinel. Wilmot was arrested for possessing/discharging weapons on school grounds, and discharging a destructive device after she mixed toilet bowl cleanser and pieces of aluminum foil in a water bottle, says the Bartow Police Department.

No one was hurt, nor was there any damage. She was suspended for 10 days and told she faced expulsion under the Polk County school district’s “zero tolerance” policy, said her attorney, Larry Hardaway. Her case generated online outrage, with many writing that both police and educators had overreacted. Some called it another sign of school “zero tolerance” polices gone too far. One online petition on Kiera’s behalf has more than 193,000 signatures, and one “justice for Kiera” post on Twitter asks, “Arrested and expelled for a science project?”

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