Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I just doubt this would be happening to this young woman if she were WHITE. The thought that these people are actively destroying this young life just bothers me. You check out the story and tell me if I'm overreacting. Where the hell is the 'judgment calls' from the ADULTS in this situation? From the grown folks that went to school, and education to become Administrators. What the hell good are Administrators if their judgment is THIS?
UPDATES WITH CALL FOR ACTION INSIDE:
Teen arrested, expelled for 'science project gone bad'
1:49 PM, Apr 24, 2013
BARTOW, Fla. - No one ever expected to see a mug shot from 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot.
The teenager is known among staff for her exemplary record at Bartow High School and her status as a good student.
"She is a good kid," said principal Ron Pritchard. "She has never been in trouble before. Ever."
All of that changed on Monday morning.
The teen is accused of mixing household chemicals in a tiny 8-ounce water bottle, causing the top to pop off, followed by billowing smoke in an small explosion.
Wilmot's friends and classmates said it was "a science project gone bad, that she never meant to hurt anyone."
Even the teen's principal said, "She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone. She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked too."
The explosion happened around 7 a.m. Monday morning on school property, and no one was hurt. Staff, along with the school resource officer, acted quickly.
The principal told WTSP in Tampa, "She told us everything and was very honest. She didn't run or try to hide the truth. We had a long conversation with her."
So, was this curiosity? Was it a science project gone wrong or a true bomb plot? Those who know the teen insist that this was nothing sinister.
"She just wanted to see what happened to those chemicals in the bottle," one teen said. "Now, look what happened."
Wilmot was arrested Monday morning and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.
The teen was expelled and will now complete her education in an expulsion program.
Chelsey Turner, a student, weighed in. "I don't think she's that type of person. She wouldn't hurt anyone."
"I heard she didn't want to hurt anyone at all," said another student, Dynequa Price. "It was a science project."
School officials are urging parents to have an open and honest conversation with kids about playing around or pulling pranks on school property.
Polk County Schools released this statement today:
"Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us. Unfortunately, the incident that occurred at Bartow High School yesterday was a serious breach of conduct. In order to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment, we simply must uphold our code of conduct rules. We urge our parents to join us in conveying the message that there are consequences to actions. We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff."
Wilmot has a twin sister who also attends school at Bartow High. We asked one student how the teen's sibling reacted to the news about the arrest. "Someone asked her about it in class and she started crying and ran out."
When WTSP approached the front door at the family's home, the voice of a teen girl yelled out, "You've blown everything out of proportion!"
WTSP offered the family a chance to make a statement, and relatives declined.
this is absolutely ridiculous.
ruining this baby's life for WHAT?
We just had the WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE FAIR.
Do you think those children got their experiments right the first time?
This young woman has curiosity that involves science. She should be ENCOURAGED..
Not made into a criminal.
When did being YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK BECOME A CRIMINAL OFFENSE?
Black Girls & The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Kiera Wilmot’s Story & How To Help…
For those who want to speak up and take action to rectify this outrage. You can do a few concrete things:
1. Someone has launched a petition demanding that charges be dropped against Kiera and that she be re-instated at her school. You can sign here.
2. You can contact FL State Attorney Jerry Hill and tell him not to prosecute 16 year old Kiera Wilmot as an adult. Call him at 863-534-4800 or email his office here.
I personally called the office this afternoon and spoke to a woman who said that the case is still under investigation and that the office would have no comments at this time. I let them know that the entire country is watching to see what they will do. I expressed my outrage that they would consider charging her with felonies and as an adult.
3. You can also call the school district’s Superintendent: Dr. John Stewart –(863) 534-0521 to ask that he intervene on Kiera’s behalf and ask law enforcement to drop the charges. Ask him to re-instate Kiera in school.
4. To learn more about the increasing criminalization of black girls at school, read Monique Morris report.
5. You should also read Sesali Bowen’s blog post published at Feministing today that addresses this incident & raises important points about the criminalization of youth in schools.