Teen arrested, expelled for ‘science project gone bad’

Mike Krumboltz

A 16-year-old girl was arrested and expelled from her high school after what a friend called a "science project gone bad" resulted in a small explosion.

WTSP reports that Kiera Wilmot of Bartow, Fla., is accused of mixing household chemicals in a small water bottle that later exploded at her high school. No one was hurt.

Principal Ron Pritchard told WTSP that Wilmot is "a good kid" and has "never been in trouble before. Ever." He added:

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.

WTSP reports that Wilmot was forthcoming with school authorities following the blast. Pritchard also told WTSP that Wilmot "told us everything and was very honest. She didn't run or try to hide the truth. We had a long conversation with her."

The arrest report explains that Wilmot told her assistant principal, Dan Durham, that the explosion was part of a science experiment. However, her science teacher told Durham the explosion was not associated with any school project, and he called the police. Wilmot was arrested and charged with the possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and the discharging of a destructive device.

The Polk County School District released a statement:

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 plenty of supporters, though. A petition at Change.org argues that Wilmot's "life should not be turned upside down, her future crushed, because someone wants to make a statement." Signers are asking authorities to drop the charges. So far, the petition has more than 1,500 signatures.