Sixteem year old Kiera Wilmot was known as an exceptional student at Bartow High School. Ron Pritchard, Kiera’s principal, told WTSP, “She is a good kid. She has never been in trouble before. Ever.” He went on to say, “She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone.”
And no one was hurt when Wilmot attempted a science experiment on the morning of Monday, April 20. She mixed some household chemicals in an 8-ounce water bottle to see the effect. However, the chemicals blew the top off the bottle in a small explosion, and smoke followed.
For this science project gone wrong, Wilmot is being tried as an adult for felony charges of possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She was arrested and expelled from school, forcing her to complete her high school education through an expulsion program.
While students and staff insist it had to have been an accident, Polk County Schools didn’t want to take any chances. They released a statement saying:
“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.”
Wilmot and her family have declined to comment on the issue. People have commented on the story expressing their outrage, saying the punishment and the charges are too harsh for this apparent accident.
BMWK – Do you think that Kiera is being punished too harshly? Or, do you agree with the school board’s decision?
For more details on the story check out the video below: