High School Student’s Science Experiment Explodes. Now She’s Being Tried as an Adult

Readers: This is a story about an unpredictable scientific reaction — and an all too predictable school over-reaction. According to the hnfsfeekta
Miami New Times blog

Kiera Wilmot got good grades and had a perfect behavior record. She wasn’t the kind of kid you’d expect to find hauled away in handcuffs and expelled from school, but that’s exactly what happened after an attempt at a science project went horribly wrong.

On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

According to WTSP, Wilmot told police that she was merely conducting a science experiment. Though her teachers knew nothing of the specific project, her principal seems to agree.

“She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone,” principal Ron Pritchard told the station. “She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too.”

Despite this cool-headed principal, the girl was charged with “possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device.”

She was expelled from school.

She will be tried as an adult.

Because…why? – L

This was NOT the student’s experiment.

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62 Responses to High School Student’s Science Experiment Explodes. Now She’s Being Tried as an Adult

  1. Jet May 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    She got off lucky, believe it or not. Under federal law, pretty much any explosive device is classified as a “weapon of mass destruction”. In the cause of Homeland Security, they could have treated her as a Timothy McVeigh in training.

  2. Sara May 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    The mere fact that somebody felt the need to call the cops over this boggles the mind.

  3. Violet May 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    They weren’t cool headed! They called the cops!

  4. Allison May 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    who the heck decided to call the police?

  5. Laura May 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Where does it say she’s being “tried as an adult”?
    She’s being charged with a crime, but I didn’t see where it said “as an adult”. Besides, It would have to actually go to trial for her to be “tried”.

  6. Warren May 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    God Bless the USA!!!!!!

    Come on people we all know that this young girl was recruited by some terrorist faction, and was actually trying to blow up the school, but failed. You can all sleep better tonight, knowing that this extremist has been caught and dealt with.

    Now with that out of my system. The good people of the US have got to decide when enough is enough, and bring about change.
    1. The police should never have been called.
    2. The police should have told the complainant to get a life, and stop bothering them about such crap.
    3. A teacher should have investigated the chemicals, and then explained to the girl where things went wrong.
    4. End of story.

    Now what needs to happen is…..
    1. School for calling the cops, need to apologize and get her back in school.
    2. The county needs to apologize and scrub her record clean.
    3. The DA needs to issue a personal and public apology, for grossly overstepping their duties.
    4. Life goes on.

    If her record is not scrubbed clean, this girl’s future is sealed.

  7. Emily May 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    When I was in grade ten science, our teacher did a “cool science trick” at the end of class every Friday for our entertainment and edification. It helped that we had science last period, so this way, we ended each week with a bit of a “bang.” Anyway, on the very last Friday before exams, he did a variation of the “methane mamba” pictured here:


    It made a ring of fire on the ceiling (as far as I know, the scorch marks are still there), and it was very, very cool. No one was hurt, because he knew how to handle materials in the lab safely, and he expected the same of us, forgiving legitimate accidents, but not tolerating wilfully negligent behaviour. Anyway, this was in June of 2000. It seems like times have really changed, and not in a good way.

  8. Warren May 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm #


    A felony weapons charge, in Florida, at the age of 16?
    You can bet the house that she would be tried as adult.
    And the decision to try a minor as an adult is determined before the trial. Usually stated by the the DA at arraignment.

  9. Maggie May 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Mr./Ms. Wilmot, please consider allowing both your daughters to complete their education at home. Florida homeschooling laws are very reasonable, and your daughters will be able to experiment and learn without overreactions like this from authorities.

  10. derpdedoo May 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    This is in the teaching profession called a “teachable moment.” This tudent, Kiera, performed a science experiment with results that were unexpected (the best results IMHO!). Rather than having a science teacher work through the background and explain what happened, she was hauled off to jail because making an explosion is against the law.

  11. Chihiro May 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I was actually just going to send you this, Lenore. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
    A little nitpicky, but I hate how they refer to the explosion as a ‘bad choice’ this girl made. It was an accident. I highly doubt she decided to just mix two random chemicals to see what they would do. She probably made a mistake and messed up at some point during the experiment.
    But instead of just chalking it up to plain old human error and being thankful no one was hurt, they’re just going to ruin this girl’s life and send a message to kids telling them to never try to do things on their own, because they might mess up,

  12. Cathy May 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    When I was in 10th grade chemistry, back in the dark ages of 1972, I accidently blew up a trash can. Thank heavens my teacher had enough sense to make sure my lab partner and I were alright and let it go at that. Of course, I couldn’t hear for awhile, but NO ONE blinked an eye after the blast. Seems that a prior class had put some paper towels in the can that reacted with the paper towels I had put in the can and it exploded and produced the prettiest pink smoke. Simple accident and no harm done. While I don’t think the girl in the article showed the greatest common sense, no harm done to anyone according to the principal. Who even called the police? I shudder to think of what would have happened if my teacher had over reacted like that.

  13. Dee May 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I left a plastic bottle of orange juice in my backpack for several days before I remembered it. When I opened it, the escaping gas from the fermentation blew the lid off and injured my hand enough to leave some pretty big bruises! Good thing I’m not in high school! Could be in federal prison right now!

  14. marie May 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I am guessing (will read the linked article later) that the school has a cop on board at all times. For security, dontcha know.

    This is what happens when cops are in the schools: Kids are no safer but they do get arrested at school much more frequently.

  15. Yan Seiner May 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    OMG… The luddites have morphed into the safety patrol. You can get these kinds of reactions by mixing chemicals in the wrong order, or by having a touch of impurities like a drop of water in the bottle.

    This is not a “bad choice”, this is SCIENCE. There is an old saying in science:

    “Experience is proportional to the amount of equipment ruined.”

    You try things; more often than not they sizzle, smoke, go bang, or just turn into goo, and not into anything you want. I remember many times when someone would drop some lithium into the lab sink, and a giant fireball would result.

    I really feel for this girl; she should be put into advanced science and not expelled. Maybe some private school will give her a scholarship. This is the sort of person we need.

  16. Kristi May 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    My husband is Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). He had multitple accidental “explosions” during his many non-school sanctioned “experiments”. If he had been arrested and charged with a crime, the Army would be without one of its best, brightest, and bravest. Sometimes (most of the time,) kids who build bombs don’t grow up to be terrorist. They grow up to stop them…and save lives!

  17. Leslie May 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Lesson to children: Don’t try stuff.

  18. Havva May 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Good Grief, a family friend used to tell me about all the things he caused to explode in the drains of his chem lab. It was a bit of a joke to surprise other students as the fire balls would come up through each sink. He joined the Navy after graduation.

    When I was in high school a group of students did far worse. They purposely built, and set off a pipe bomb. When they went to extinguish the blaze from the “dud” it blew up in one of the boys hands. The doctors spent the next 6-8hours in the ER picking shrapnel out of two of the guys. The sheriff sent at least two vehicles that I saw on sight hours later. The Vice Principle was late for his own child’s baby naming, as he stayed at the hospital until both came out of surgery and could be interviewed. Neither boy was charged with any crime. Everyone could see they were not trying to hurt anyone and just screwed up. (They were however forced to join the color guard, in order to avoid the school pressing charges). One of the guys is now a US Marine.

  19. Scott May 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m all for science experiments and I usually agree with letting kids do more rather than less.

    I think calling the police and expelling this student was an over reaction.

    I think this student knew exactly what she was doing and lied about it when asked. What she mixed is what my friends and I always called a “Drano-Bomb”. There was never any surprise as to what it would do, explosions are expected.

    It sounds like she made herself a mild one (these can leave craters or blow up mailboxes). If I intentionally made one of these in school, I would expect a detention, not an expulsion.

  20. Christina May 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I hate to be the one to bring this up, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened were she white.

  21. Amy May 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I have two problems with this story. The first is the girl decided to bring the chemicals to school without telling anyone about it. I don’t think she meant for the explosion to happen but it did and under these circumstances i can understand why the school took some of the measures it did. The second problem i have is they called the cops, they should have just handled it internally the expulsion would have been punishment enough.

  22. Brenna May 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Scott, how could you POSSIBLY know that she was lying, and what she mixed up? Please. This is exactly the kind of thinking that got this poor kid arrested in the first place. It doesn’t matter what’s obvious, or what she says, it matters what YOU thing she was doing, which may or (more likely) may not have any relationship to reality. I work in a chemistry department at a major research university. Lots of things can cause small amounts of smoke.

    This is blatant overreaction on all parts.

  23. Emily May 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    @Amy–An expulsion for a first offense? I think detention would have been sufficient, plus of course cleaning up any damage caused by the explosion. Anyway, one thing the story doesn’t include is WHY Kiera Wilmot did the experiment in the first place. For all we know, it was for school. When I was in high school, most classes had “independent study units.” Usually, we’d pick a subject to research, but other times, we’d get to do cool things. For example, for music one year, I wrote a book of songs and rhymes with actions, designed to teach basic concepts of musical theory to children, and included some materials for musical theory games. I didn’t take science past grade ten, but those who did, would sometimes conduct experiments on their own for the independent study unit. The only “directed” I.S.U. I ever remember doing was math, which was all laid out for us, but we had to actually do everything on our own. So, if a teacher found a student reacting chemicals in an empty classroom when I was in high school, they’d probably assume that that student was working on an independent project, not trying to blow up the school.

  24. Leah May 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Lenore is, once again, cherry picking to prove her point. I’m getting very frustrated by this. The arrest, detention, and expulsion of children for things that would have been dealt with in the principal’s office 20 years ago is a deeply serious matter. But when you choose iffy examples like this one to illustrate that point, the message gets watered down. There’s more to this story than is being reported. Case in point:: This wasn’t the student’s experiment? Then why didn’t her teachers know anything about it? The principal said it “might” have been a science project, might have been curiosity, he doesn’t know why she did it. There are hundreds of legitimate examples of children being punished in adult ways for doing kid things. I’m not sure this is one of them.

  25. Scott May 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm #


    I know what she was mixing based on the police report.

    I do not know she was lying, I think she was lying. Again, if I mixed random chemicals in school and it exploded (in any way) I would expect to get in trouble.

    I do not think the police should be involved, I do not think suspensions should be involved. I agree that it is an overreaction.

    However, the whole point of this site is that kids are more aware and capable than we give them credit for. You are going the other direction and assuming this poor child was mixing random chemicals outside of class and randomly stumbled upon the recipe for a drano-bomb. Give the kid the credit they deserve and let them accept responsibility (afterschool detention maybe?).

  26. hineata May 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Let’s just suck all the joy out of life right now. I remember, in the ‘reds under beds’ seventies, being seriously worried about Communists taking over the country, and being forced to wear colorless uniforms and have no fun. Well, am not sure you have anything very different to that scenario here, and it didn’t take communists to achieve it – just communal insanity.

    Gosh, my father threw a fire cracker off of a shop verandah and blew a small hole in the side of a ‘Bobby’ helmet while the poor man was wearing it, and all he got for his moronic behaviour was a darn good boot in the rear. Had he been living in the States and doing the same thing now, no doubt he’d be in jail….

    Why can’t gross adult stupidity be put on trial? Is there precedence for a ‘class action suit’, or some other cool-sounding legal name?

  27. Amy May 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    @Emily After reading more articles it mentioned she wasn’t in a class when it happen she was outside being coached by someone else. Heres a link to her arrest report http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/05/florida_school_responds_to_cri.php?page=2.

    The difference between your experiences and this one your teachers seem to know what was happening and here they did not know what she was doing or what she had until after the explosion.

    As far as first time offenses go an adult who drives drunk for the first time and gets caught should get off due to a first time offense?

  28. Donna May 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    We get these “cherry bomb” cases prosecuted regularly. I don’t believe for a second that she did not know what would happen as this is EXTREMELY COMMON.

    That said, I’ve never heard of one being tried as an adult. Ours have all been juvenile cases.

  29. Puzzled May 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Obviously, people here don’t know what science is. Science isn’t trying new things – it’s mindlessly following directions. Albert Einstein got to be so well-known simply because he was great at high school lab – when he became a professional scientist, he followed his lab manuals very well, that’s why he’s a great scientist.

    That was sarcasm, by the way.

    Since she’s being tried as an adult, she’s allowed to drink, drive, and vote until trial, right?

  30. Heather May 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Here’s a petition if you’d like to sign: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-bartow-police-and-bartow-high-school-drop-charges-against-kiera-wilmot

  31. Eliza May 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    What I got out of the article is this question that I ask regularly when I hear stories like this. If in today’s society children and teenagers are not capable of looking after themselves, or can seriously be injured, kidnapped, killed if not in adult arm reach, how can they be responsible enough to make any decisions for themselves, good or bad, so how can she be charged as an adult? I believe you can’t have it both ways. I don’t live in America, and what I know about schools is what I see on TV (Glee, Beverly Hills 90210). On the science experiment, I remember my brother during his schooling and uni days he blew up his area in the lab about 3 times, injured himself, one time needing surgery many times and now he is a science teacher. My daughters first day in the science lab in high school, accidently knocked over some chemical (safe ones) which in the process broke a lot of beakers and tubes and also stained some clothes another child was wearing. I didn’t receive a phone call or email. My daughter told me about it when she got home. She did not get in any trouble as it was an accident. My daughter did feel guilty about ruining someone’s clothes, so we gave the parent some money to replace the item of clothing. As a family we were happy as we believe if she keeps on with the accidents, she may end up in the science field. Well that’s how it works in our family.

  32. Emily May 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    @Amy–I guess my school was different, because our teachers didn’t watch us every moment of every day. It was considered normal for students to work on art projects, photofinishing, music practice, and all manner of shop projects during their spares, so if a teacher walked into an otherwise empty science lab and found a student mixing/reacting chemicals, they probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it, especially if that student was documenting the results of the experiment. Also, I watched a video of the “Drano bomb,” and honestly, aside from spraying Drano everywhere, it didn’t look all that dangerous. My guess is, if that had happened at my school, especially if it was one of the “good” students, most teachers would have reminded the student to clean up after him-or-herself, and that would have been the end of it. I know that that lax attitude sounds foolhardy, but most of the “problem students” were unlikely to be in a classroom during their spares, or before or after school–in fact, it was hard enough to get them to get them into the classroom during class. Also, chances are, students who are deliberately up to no good, would probably do their troublemaking in secret, rather than mixing chemicals in the science lab where they could have been found out. A Drano bomb created to cause havoc would most likely have been mixed outside, or in a bathroom, or under a staircase in an obscure corner of the school, and then deployed in an air vent or something. So, that’s why I think Ms. Wilmot was just doing a science experiment that reacted a bit more strongly than she’d expected.

  33. Donald May 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Suspend her for making a Draino bomb. Don’t expel her or lead her away in handcuffs. It was a very small one, blew off the cap and produced smoke. I don’t constitute that as a bomb nor do I agree with the statement, “We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff”, because I don’t consider her a threat.

    I do agree with the statement “there are consequences to actions”. However with all of the Bonsai parenting going on, children are not allowed to learn this when they’re young. They can only learn this when they’re older and can make bigger mistakes.

  34. Warren May 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Wow, Leah, Amy and Scott, simply wow. It must be nice to have lived perfect lives as a teenager. Never making a mistake, never having something go wrong. All hail the three Saints.

    She tried something other kids told her about. Big freaking deal. I knew dozens of students that would bring in home done art, projects, poems or whatever they were into, to school to show other kids, and their teachers.

    You three are just as warped as the ones charging her.

  35. Warren May 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm #


    We are seeing a huge difference between the education system in the states, and that here in Canada.

    In the states it seems to revolve around control, control and punishment. Students are not allowed to be individuals, only sheep herding from one class to the next. For a country that boasts about freedom, fighting for freedom, and even calls itself the land of the free, they certainly do not want to actually allow that freedom. Even more so in school.

  36. Marianne May 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    I don’t get it. Why is it that things that aren’t even illegal suddenly become criminal when it happens at a school? And minors can be tried as adults whenever it suits the prosecutor? It seems to me that kids get routinely railroaded by the legal system.

  37. Roz May 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m interested to see that she seems to have support from the principal, yet it was the school district who thought she should be charged?

    Sorry, I live in Australia so this ‘school district’ concept is foreign. Can the principals not decide or have any say in these types of matters?

    The whole thing just sounds insane. Although, for this poor girl and her family, a frightening reality.

  38. socalledauthor May 2, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    The principal is head of one school. A school district consists of all the schools in a certain area. So the principal can be okay with it, but higher up the administrative chain you get the superintendent and s/he may not have been okay with it.

    I think the whole thing is an overreaction. Young people– hell, all people, make mistakes. She shouldn’t have brought it to school– but a slap on the wrist, imho, would be plenty of reminder for a young lady who made a conscious choice. An apt “penalty” would be some community service teaching younger grade children the wonders of science. Make the punishment fit the crime.

  39. Ben May 2, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Possession of a weapon? What weapon?
    Last time I checked science experiments were not weapons.

  40. suzyq May 2, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    Was this girl guilty of doing something irresponsible? Perhaps. Last time I checked, being a teenager with an underdeveloped executive function was NORMAL, not CRIMINAL.

    Just watched The Breakfast Club with my 13-year-old last night. Marveled at the fact that kids who pulled fire alarms, bullied/assaulted another student, and brought a flare gun to school ended up with Saturday detention instead of being suspended pending expulsion hearings. My, how times change……

  41. Jillian May 2, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    This post made my blood boil, where do they get off on calling the cops on this poor girl? And for what? It didn’t damage any property nor did it harm anyone yet it’s going to go on her file. They should have treated it as a learning experience because, you know, trial and error, children make mistakes and learn from them..

  42. Jen May 2, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Why are schools unable/unwilling to use logical consequences? The appropriate punishment here is for the student to research and write a paper about the chemical reaction she caused and to spend some detention time working in the chemistry lab. It’s a teachable moment and they are teaching entirely the wrong lesson.

  43. Cari May 2, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    This is what happens when you have zero tolerance policies in place. No one stops and thinks things through. Expulsion and criminal charges are over-reactions especially IF this is a first-time offense for an typically “good” student. Yet, the way many school systems have their zero tolerance policies written (whether done on a state or local level) the administration’s hands are typically tied.

  44. Scott May 2, 2013 at 10:32 am #


    I fail to see why my thinking a student who sets off an explosion might require detention. I’ve made a drano bomb in the past, if I’d done it at school, I would’ve expected detention.

    This wasn’t a classroom activity, she was outside mixing chemicals in a gazebo on school property. This wasn’t a school project and based on her location, she knew it wasn’t appropriate to be doing on campus.

    All I said was that an appropriate consequence is justified. I think Jen has it right: “The appropriate punishment here is for the student to research and write a paper about the chemical reaction she caused and to spend some detention time working in the chemistry lab. “

  45. Emily May 2, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Yeah, I agree with Jen. A research paper on the chemical reaction and the science behind the “Drano bomb” would be a better penalty for Ms. Wilmot than being expelled and ARRESTED (!) over said Drano bomb. That, and possibly teaching science lessons to younger kids, if possible. It would have been possible at my high school, because there was an elementary school right next door that started and ended an hour after we did. That’s how we were able to put together a grade eight band class, that was “after school” for us, but it was a class for the grade eight kids. Anyway, if they’d expressed an interest in an enriched science class, taught by high school students, I’m sure we could have made that happen too.

  46. Jen C. May 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    That’s it. Let’s stop teaching our children chemistry (Or at least make them wear bomb suits during class). It’s to dangerous!! And it would be foolish to learn a lesson from this,for example, why the substances she used exploded. <– Sarcasm.

  47. marie May 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    If this goes to trial, let’s hope the jury understands jury nullification. Even if it is clear that the girl is guilty, the jury can find that the law was unjustly applied in her case.

    The trouble is that this almost certainly won’t go to trial….because only a tiny percentage of cases go to trial. The prosecution will threaten her with a frightening sentence and offer to “let” her plead to a lesser charge. Wouldn’t surprise me if the lesser charge is still a felony, though.

  48. Amanda Matthews May 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    I agree with Scott that she knew what would happen. I think she was skeptical it would actually explode. So she did an experiment. Just like we have all heard the diet coke and mentos thing, but many people are skeptical it will work and try it.

    I do not agree that she should be punished for it, though. Punish a student for learning outside of the classroom? Teach them that thinking outside the box is wrong?

    Have her write a paper on it, sure. Have her figure out how to safely clean up any mess the explosion caused, and do so. But don’t give her detention and certainly don’t arrest her.

    “I guess my school was different, because our teachers didn’t watch us every moment of every day. It was considered normal for students to work on art projects, photofinishing, music practice, and all manner of shop projects during their spares, so if a teacher walked into an otherwise empty science lab and found a student mixing/reacting chemicals, they probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it, especially if that student was documenting the results of the experiment. ”

    This was the way my school was too. Not just in the designated rooms, but in any room there wasn’t a class in at the time, in the hallways, and outside on school grounds. I’m in the US, but I did go to unconventional schools for most of my school life… the “regular” schools seemed (/seem) to be more about learning to sit down, shut up and do what you are told rather than actually learning or being creative.

    “I don’t get it. Why is it that things that aren’t even illegal suddenly become criminal when it happens at a school? And minors can be tried as adults whenever it suits the prosecutor? It seems to me that kids get routinely railroaded by the legal system.”

    At the same time, though, things that are illegal outside of school are legal inside of schools. Like assault gets called bullying, for example. It seems schools have their own set of laws. Laws that are usually detrimental to learning, creativity and mental health. I just can’t understand why people sign up to follow these laws. (I know, I know, some will cry “some people don’t have a choooooice!” @@)

  49. Warren May 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Okay let’s get something straight, and in the newspaper article. This was not an exoplosion. The top of a water bottle popped off and some smoke, came out. Not what I would consider smoke, that’s like calling steam smoke. It was a harmless look at what I make happen.

    So Scott, for all intents and purposes this is no different than one kid showing another kid something cool and harmless. Your draino bombs were meant to be a disruption, hers, by the results, was not. This is no different than a menthos in coke. Just because you may have been a troublemaker in school, do not assume she is.

    The logical reaction from the school should have been, to ask her not to do things like this without permission, and then have her talk about it in class. Learn not punish.

  50. Tsu Dho Nimh May 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    This was not an “unpredictable scientific reaction” and it was not an “experiment”. It was a student stupidly messing around with the popular and well-known aluminum foil and drain cleaner “bomb” recipe. You can see the videos on YouTube.

    She did not tell any teacher she was conducting an “experiment”, did not have clearance to do it, was not part of any project … she just mixed it up because someone told her to.

    However, if she had decided to use a bigger bottle and more ingredients, or maybe some more foil, or pool acid instead of drain cleaner , or sealed it a bit tighter … those things can explode with plenty of force and spray acid all over the place, and all over the “experimenter” and any bystanders unlucky enough to be nearby.

    @Emily aside from spraying Drano everywhere, it didn’t look all that dangerous … have you ever read the ingredients on the container of Drano?

  51. Emily May 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    @Tsu Dho Nimh–I still maintain that it wasn’t that dangerous, because Ms. Wilmot was outside, and she likely knew enough to get out of the way before the bottle exploded–and, since the Drano bomb she made was so small, all it did was pop the lid off the bottle, and emit a bit of smoke/steam/whatever. Maybe the schoolyard wasn’t the best place to do this (her own backyard probably would have been a better choice, assuming she had one), but I don’t think this is a grievous offence.

  52. Warren May 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    So we can add Tsu to the list of those that want to crucify this kid. Lovely.

    This pales in comparison to a whole lot of stuff we used to do, and the teachers would laugh.

    Added to the loss of common sense in the world, we can now add the loss of memory, and the loss of a sense of humour.

    For crying out loud, we brought firecrackers to school and tossed them in empty lockers. Punishment was being outed, having our firecrackers taken away, but returned at the end of the school day, and a harsh don’t do that again. And by comparison they were real explosives.

    Terri Clark has it all figured out. “The world needs a drink”

  53. Scott May 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm #


    I’m done after this post, but all I can say is that if you think detention is “crucifying” a kid, you’ve obviously never been in detention.

    I said I made drano bombs, and I said I didn’t do it at school, because if I did it at school I would expect a detention, ergo no disruptions.

    The school can’t allow students to create explosions on campus, how big is too big? Detention, a stern talking to, maybe forced to write a paper…. we can agree that expulsion and a felony charge are way over the line.

  54. Emily May 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    @Scott–I’m pretty sure that Warren doesn’t think that detention is “crucifying” a kid; he thinks expelling and ARRESTING a student with an otherwise perfect record, over one little Drano-and-tinfoil explosion, outside, that didn’t hurt anyone or damage any property, is “crucifying” a kid. I feel the same way. However, there is a small glimmer of hope, because sometimes the powers-that-be change their minds, like when they un-suspended an otherwise good student who they’d previously suspended for doing cartwheels at recess:


  55. Donna May 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    @Emily – Actually it appears that Warren does indeed view detention as “crucifying” the kid. Scott has never suggested anything more than detention and has repeatedly said that he thinks expulsion and arrest are ridiculous and yet Warren continues to accuse him of wanting to crucify the kid.

  56. Donald May 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    There are a lot of anti terrorism measures around. Some are good. Some are theater security. Lots of bombs can be made from household goods including C4. This is has been cleaned off the internet and it’s very hard to find out how to make these bombs. I think that’s GREAT!

    I also find it interesting that Draino bombs videos exist. That’s because they are not much of a bomb. A terrorist using a Draino bomb would be like trying to hijack an air plane by using a BB gun! (however airports use to confiscate nail clippers) Anti terrorist organizations don’t consider Draino bombs to be terrorist tools.

    Don’t treat her like a terrorist. She wasn’t trying to hid it. She used a very small amount. Sure, it was a very unorthodox ‘scientific experiment’ that she conducted without permission. However I wouldn’t treat her as though she manufactured a bomb.

    Suspend her. Don’t expel her or lead her away in handcuffs unless you want to impress an insurance company with your theater security or give in to to parents that are afraid of their own shadow.

  57. Joel May 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Time to fire all involved !

    26 USC § 5845

    (f) Destructive device
    The term “destructive device” means
    (1) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas
    (A) bomb,
    (B) grenade,
    (C) rocket having a propellent charge of more than four ounces,
    (D) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,
    (E) mine, or
    (F) similar device;
    (2) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and
    (3) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. The term “destructive device” shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684 (2), 4685, or 4686 of title 10 of the United States Code; or any other device which the Secretary finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.

  58. JP May 3, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Upon investigation:
    good grades
    a perfect behavior record
    7am (who’s around?)

    A curious kid with a scientific inquiry.
    No damage. No injury. No nothing. Just a pop.
    Whatever rule she apparently broke is beyond the pale.
    Led away in cuffs. Shamed. Called to court. Wow.

    Meanwhile: Corporate America trashes the ecozone, with impunity. Citizens are guinea-pigged endlessly with drug cocktails (let’s see what happens when we mix this with that?)
    Forget science 101, young Mademoiselle.
    March straight on to Hypocrisy 404.

  59. hineata May 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    All this talk of school detentions vs. crucifixion has left all sorts of images running through my mind….I can just see Spartacus, Jesus and the many thousands of others crucified over the centuries, asking why, if their ‘crimes’ were so bad, they weren’t given the option of detention instead, this obviously being an equal form of punishment. Personally I’ve only had a couple of students over the years whom I’ve thought would have looked good crucified – for the rest, some form of detention was usually enough.

    Am with Scott – if they choose to punish the kid, detention would be fine. She could spend that time reading chemistry texts, getting ideas for her next experiment…..

  60. Warren May 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    @Scott and the rest

    Yes in this case, detention is crucifying.

    For crying out loud, she popped the top off a water bottle!

    You can make a louder noise, inflating a paper bag and popping it.

    At her age, with her record, a reminder that chemical reactions should be taken seriously, and nothing more. Punishing her in anyway shape or form is just insane. And anyone that agrees with detention, suspension, expullsion and or arrest is nothing more than an adult that has lost total touch with what it was like to be a kid with interests.

    Be it detention or arrest, it is still punishment. Instead of teaching them they did wrong, teach them the right way to do what they are attempting. Even detention supports zero tolerance bullcrap.

  61. Danielle Meitiv May 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    The Steubenville boys who raped their classmate were tried as juveniles but this girl gets tried as an adult. I have no words.


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