All for the Pursuit of Science

Adaption of photography by Uk Ministry of Defence, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Copyright © 2008 UK Ministry of Defence.

Adaption of photography by Uk Ministry of Defence, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Copyright © 2008 UK Ministry of Defence.

Alex Dockery, Columnist, 2012-2013

In April of 2013, a Florida teen, Kiera Wilmont, experienced what it is like to have a science project gone wrong. Wilmont is known as a very hard working student who always gets good grades and stays out of trouble. Because of this, the fact that she has been arrested and tried as an adult for being in possession of a weapon on school grounds is quite surprising.

 Wilmont intended to conduct a science experiment at her school, Bartow High School. In this experiment she planned to take common household items and mix them all together in an 8 oz water bottle and record the results. What resulted out of this experiment was a slight explosion and a law suit. The chemicals in the bottle caused the cap to pop off and a production of smoke to be produced. No one was hurt and there were no damages. However, Wilmont was punished nonetheless.

 “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” said Principal Ron Pritchard. Even though it is within popular opinion that Wilmont didn’t intend to hurt anyone in with experiment, she was still expelled from school and forced to take an expulsion program in order to receive her diploma. She was also taken into custody for possession and discharging a weapon on school grounds, and placed in a juvenile assessment center.

Even though the general opinion about this story is that the punishment enforced on Kiera was too harsh , the Polk County School District has showed that they are sticking to their guns on this one, “Anytime a student makes a bad choice it is disappointing to us. Unfortunately, the incident that occurred at Bartow High School 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.”What do you think, were they too harsh?