Three weeks ago we reported on Kiera Wilmot, a high school student who was threatened with expulsion and arrest for a science experiment gone bad. I asked my followers to tweet about their own, personal experiences with accidental explosions in the name of science. Since then, Wilmot’s story along with the response from scientists, has gone viral. So, of course, we’re enormously pleased that all charges against Kiera Wilmot have been dropped and that former astronaut Homer Hickman (who’s childhood exploits inspired the movie October Sky) stepped up to provide both Kiera and her twin sister with a scholarship to space camp.
Even more impressive, Wilmot herself took to the web to discuss her experience in an article for the ACLU’s blog – An Unexpected Reaction: Why a Science Experiment Gone Bad Doesn’t Make Me a Criminal. In it, she reveals that:
They didn’t read me any rights. They arrested me after sitting in the office for a couple minutes. They handcuffed me. It cut my wrist, and really hurt sitting on my hands behind my back.
And that, despite no longer facing the threat of expulsion:
Right now I’m at Bill Duncan Opportunity Center, which is for students who were kicked out of school. People are teasing me and calling me a terrorist. And the school is actually quite easy. I’m not getting the challenge that I used to have. I don’t have homework. There is no German class, and there is no orchestra. I probably couldn’t even bring my cello because I was told the students would steal it.
Despite the good news, Wilmot’s struggle is not over. I sincerely hope that all of the adults involved in this case, the Principal, the Dean of Discipline (seriously?), the arresting officer, and the Assistant DA take a good long look in the mirror and perhaps choose to move into positions where they no longer have influence over children’s futures.
Welcome to the Florida eductional system.