Florida police have dropped all charges against Kiera Wilmot, the teenager whose science experiment harmlessly exploded on school grounds. Initially, she was expelled from school and charged with two felonies: “possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds” and “discharging a destructive device.”
Thank you, Care2 activists, for helping to make this happen. Almost 23,000 of you signed our petition requesting that the felony charges against Kiera be dropped. Great work!
It was on April 22 that Kiera carried out a small experiment at her school, Bartow Senior High School, in Bartow, Florida. She was curious to find out how two common household products — toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil — would react, so she mixed them together in a small water bottle. To her surprise and everyone else’s, this caused a noise like a firecracker and let off a small amount of smoke. However, no one was hurt and no school property was damaged.
The sixteen-year-old was an exemplary student who was well-liked at her school. She got excellent grades and had never been in trouble. In other words, she was every teacher’s dream student.
So it is wonderful news that the state attorney’s office has decided not to charge Kiera with any crimes.
She has not been entirely exhonerated, however.
Here’s the statement from the State Attorney’s Office:
Based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, the lack of criminal history of the child involved, and the action taken by the Polk County School Board, the State Attorney’s Office extended an offer of diversion of prosecution to the child. The child and her guardian signed the agreement to successfully complete the Department of Juvenile Justice Diversion Program.
That means she will probably have to do some community service, but the pending case has been dismissed, and no formal charges will be filed.
Even better, ABC reports when Homer Hickman, an 18-year NASA veteran and author of the memoir “Rocket Boys,” later adapted into the film “October Sky,” heard about Kiera, he decided to give her a scholarship to the U.S. Space Academy, a five-day college accredited course offered through the University of Alabama-Huntsville. And once he found out that Kiera had a twin sister, he raised enough money so they could attend the course together.
However, Kiera has still not been reinstated at her high school. She went through a 10-day suspension and has been finishing this year at an alternate school. The school district says they will take the state attorney’s actions into consideration when deciding if Kiera can return to school.
Let’s hope they do the right thing.
And thank you again, all you wonderful Care2 members, for signing the petition.
Photo Credit: wtsp.com online video