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How to repel kids from science: By shackling curiosity in cuffs

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Kiera Wilmot, the Bartow High School student who was arrested and expelled for her curiosity (Image:

In his delightful memoir “Uncle Tungsten”, the eminent neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks recounts the swashbuckling chemical adventures of his teenage years, sparked when a sympathetic uncle got him hooked on to the wonders of chemistry. For me the most memorable image from that book is one of the young Sacks standing on a bridge on a river and successively dropping a few grams of the alkali metals – from lithium to cesium – in the water to observe their reaction. Lithium causes little reaction, sodium dances on the surface with a flame while cesium roars like a beast with much sound and fury. Sacks says that after that incident he never forgot the trends in reactivity of the alkali metals, an important principle that’s often taught in high school and college. Many prominent scientists, some of whom later won Nobel Prizes, remember similar exciting adventures with chemistry sets as teenagers.

It’s a sad commentary on our alarmist society that a similar deed would probably land a modern day budding Oliver Sacks in jail. That is exactly what it has done to a young aspiring scientist named Kiera Wilmot from Bartow High School in Florida, and in the process it has almost certainly deprived this country of exactly the kind of scientist whose shortage its politicians and educators are so fond of lamenting. The student conducted a common experiment mixing the toilet bowl cleaner The Works and aluminum foil on the grounds of a school (A helpful commenter on the reprint of this post pointed out that Ms. Wilmot used The Works, not Drano; both react with aluminum to generate hydrogen gas and heat). The exact details are unknown but the incident led to a minor explosion, hurt nobody and damaged no property. This relatively harmless bit of curiosity led to Ms. Wilmot being handcuffed, arrested and expelled from the school. Irrational State Overreach: 1, The Much Touted American Edge in Science: 0. Whatever else the school was trying to achieve, it definitely succeeded in squelching independent scientific curiosity in its students.

Now let’s get one thing straight. The student was playing with a potentially hazardous mix and she was not using proper protective equipment. She definitely deserved to be reprimanded and perhaps even punished in some way, maybe by putting her on probation. But when you arrest and expel students for slaking their scientific curiosity, whatever the other consequences of that action, be advised that you are almost certainly sacrificing a valuable scientist at the altar of arbitrarily wielded state and school power.

The latest incident however is only a reflection of, on one hand, the draconian measures that our educational and political institutions are taking to achieve the ostensible goal of “disciplining” American children, and on the other hand, the public obsession with chemophobia and “chemicals”. The absurdly named “chemical free” chemistry sets are already depriving students of the joy of chemistry. When I was growing up my chemistry set had a lot of potentially harmful chemicals like copper sulfate and potassium ferricyanide. On every bottle there were clear labels advising us of the hazards of that particular chemical, antidotes against poisoning and the phone number of the poison center. None of these labels deterred me or my parents, and the set opened up the wonderful world of chemistry to me.

I made colorful dyes, generated nasty smells in a test tube and yes, caused minor explosions. Some of these explosions resulted from experimenting with protocols outside those recommended in the set. One time I mixed potassium permanganate with glycerol to spark a bright burning fire (the reaction is highly exothermic), another time I dissolved mom’s safety pins in nitric acid to generate copious amounts of nitrogen dioxide; it was only later that I came to know about the potential toxicity of the greenish-blue gas. Yes, I could have hurt myself, perhaps seriously, but the pleasure of finding things out far outweighed the potential harm that I could have caused myself. There is no doubt that performing chemical experiments exposes you to potential risks, but that is true of every single activity that you indulge in every day. In addition this has always been true of knowledge acquisition, and in my opinion the history of science amply demonstrates that the general ratio of harmful consequences to knowledge gained has been quite low.

Yet we as a society are grabbing on to the Precautionary Principle at every opportunity. We seem to believe that ignorance is better than knowledge since ignorance involves doing nothing and always erring on the side of safety. We think this is ostensibly the safest state of affairs, but it is one which is very much illusory since it’s that same ignorance that unfavorably impacts our long-term security and progress. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that knowledge is better than ignorance even when that knowledge can lead to potential harm, and it’s every inch worth the price we have to pay for accumulating its benefits. This hard won knowledge is now under attack from those who seek to proclaim the safety of their fellow citizens and their children as their highest priority.

Society’s ardent wish to enforce this principle of maximum precaution – whether it involves reacting to terrorism or to school pranks – is turning schools into straitjacketed environments with armed guards and law enforcement where misdemeanors, pranks and honest mistakes that would have gotten a student detention twenty years ago are leading instead to arrests and expulsions. The school environment in many states has turned into an overactive immune system. Any school like Bartow High School which believes that it is setting a good example and improving the safety environment for its students is fooling itself. The New York Times reported that over the years the proportion of harsh punishments for relatively minor misdemeanors has significantly increased. Even pranks like flying paper airplanes in the classroom or using threatening words in front of a fellow student – incidents which would regularly land students into detention or lead to a parent-teacher meeting before – can now get kids expelled or arrested. The current incident falls into the same category. The one goal this kind of excessive disciplinary action achieves is that it leads to a plethora of disgruntled, frightened and disillusioned students who are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. As the Times put it in 2011:

“Schools are right to expel students who pose a threat to others. But suspensions for less serious, nonthreatening behavior have become routine in recent decades, with disastrous consequences. Children who are removed from school are at far greater risk of being held back, dropping out or ending up in the juvenile justice system.”

It does not take much imagination to consider the effects of this environment of handcuffs and arrests on the psychology of young children who are trying to learn and have fun. Schools are already faced with a chorus of hyperactive teenagers who are trying to find their purpose and direction in life. The only way they can do this is by experimenting and they will do this regardless of whether it’s encouraged or not. The last thing the school should be doing is to discourage such experimentation by doling out harsh punishments and cultivating an atmosphere of fear and retribution. Creating an environment for controlled experimentation involves both setting the parameters for that experimentation and creating mechanisms to bring students who might stray from the status quo back into the fold.

Finally, these kinds of punishments are completely self-defeating in a period when lawmakers and educators are urging the country to focus more on science education. What are the chances that Ms. Wilmot will now consider a career as a chemist or even as a scientist? What are the chances of Bartow High School understanding that it has just consigned the career of a potentially promising African-American scientist to the ashes because of its overreaction and overuse of disciplinary power? Is the temporary fear that is put into the minds of students who want to experiment worth killing their interest in science, the same science that countless high school teachers have harnessed as a force for elevating this country’s profile and character over the decades? Bartow High School may have gotten rid of Ms. Wilmot but it will never be able to escape these questions.

I will end by slightly rephrasing a quote from a Founding Father of this country who would have undoubtedly shaken his head at this sad state of affairs. Ben Franklin who did so much to raise the status of science in the public’s consciousness might easily have said that “They who can give up essential knowledge to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither”.

And to Kiera Wilmot I say, please don’t give up on yourself because the system failed. Remember the deeds of George Washington Carver and Percy Julian who came before you; both of them rose to prominence in spite of the system and not because of it. Scientific curiosity is too big a deal to be abandoned at the whim of institutional inertia and shortsightedness. In rejecting you this school has rejected its own ideals. You will undoubtedly find another which is more receptive to your curiosity and aspirations. I urge you to carry on.

Note: D. N. Lee has already written an excellent post on this topic. But as a chemist who has experimented with potentially “explosive” chemicals as a teenager, I felt particularly distressed and wanted to weigh in.

Ashutosh Jogalekar About the Author: Ashutosh (Ash) Jogalekar is a chemist interested in the history and philosophy of science. He considers science to be a seamless and all-encompassing part of the human experience. Follow on Twitter @curiouswavefn.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. wtrgecon 8:37 pm 05/1/2013

    When I was in high school we often made things that would in today’s environment apparently land us in jail. When 10 or 12 I made a carbide cannon and was guilty of propelling a ball about the diameter of a coffee can 50 feet or more. I am certain it made a bigger “explosion” than this young lady’s plastic bottle which only blew the cap off.

    We made our own fuel for model rockets with sugar and a commonly available nitrate. Occasionally something would not go as planned, but the worst that ever happened was a lecture to be more careful. No one ever considered anything harsher than a stern explanation of how to be more careful.

    If anything this makes me want to duplicate some of those old experiments with my grandchildren. I don’t personally know of any physicist or chemist that hasn’t created a far greater explosion than this before they entered college. There probably are some but not at the universities where I attended or taught.

    I wonder if these people would prosecute me now for writing down an exponential equation. Some of them look pretty explosive on paper.

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  2. 2. You_No 9:52 pm 05/1/2013

    This is not the days of freedom or liberty. These people long ago gave up the remembrance of individuality for the brief comfort of fear. There will be no revolution which saves the future, or current US children. Our most likely future is a conquering, as we flail, helpless in our cowardice, into a future dominated by those who don’t run from reality when teaching their children.

    The nanny state US, which creates massive profits for a few, and comforts the many with beer, bread, and circus cannot allow deviations from the norm, for fear of the charade being exposed. So we wait for the day the barbarians can no longer be paid in trinkets, and those tribes who do not run from adventure, individuality, and self-reliance, turn and eat us alive.

    Keep dreaming that watching everyone closer, and being ever tougher on abnormal behavior, can somehow keep you free and safe. The obvious hypocrisy will not aid the poets as they memorialize the sting of your defeats. It will only expose your absolute mental weakness and cowardice.

    Congratulations to this young lady on exposing the nature of her world. What a shame that she won’t likely be learned enough to fully express the loss of imagination her treatment exposes.

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  3. 3. Rozumbrada 2:19 am 05/2/2013

    Florida legislators write statutes and create rules that inflict permanent harm on children guilty at most of a minor mistake or misbehavior.

    In Florida a mere arrest, even a mistaken one of an entirely innocent child, creates a permanent criminal record that has severe consequences for the rest of the child’s life.

    Even if the charges against Kiera are dropped or she’s given diversion, as is likely, her life will remain damaged due to her public criminal arrest record, both on the Internet and one easily obtained (until she turns 24) on the FDLE site; plus a PERMANENT sealed arrest record revealed to potential employers in fields like education and nursing.

    In Florida thousands of children guilty of a harmless mistake, or entirely innocent, have severely damaged chances of being able to go to college, rent an apartment in a safe area, gain certification in numerous professional fields, or join the army — and that’s due to a mere juvenile arrest, without ever being convicted of any offense.

    This all amounts to a massive child abuse, pure and simple.

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  4. 4. DianaCox 12:10 pm 05/2/2013

    In my opinion, you all are waxing philosophical and poetic about a situation that is more complex and questionable than the picture you paint, and in which the young lady is more culpable than you suggest. As a PhD, JD biotech patent attorney, I know enough of both science and law to have a different viewpoint on this situation.

    Do you really believe this was a science experiment? Did you read the other reports? She did not do it as part of a class project. It was unauthorized. When confronted about it, she lied and said it was for the science fair. Then she claimed she had been dared to do it.

    She brought the chemicals from home – toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil. A simple google search (I assume this good student had internet access) will find numerous posts and YouTubes about making a BOMB with those materials, and explaining how to do it, and SHOWING what happens.

    This does not appear to have been the result of simple scientific intellectual curiosity – this was a 16 year old young woman – old enough to drive a car – showing off by flaunting authority and breaking the rules and potentially endangering herself and other students, by building a BOMB on campus. I find it difficult to believe, with the obvious level of premeditation exhibited, that she didn’t KNOW it would explode, and I’ll bet that a search of computers she used (if she wasn’t smart enough to erase the history) would show that she looked this up on the web and KNEW it would explode.

    Causing an explosion on school property appears to have been not only a violation of a zero tolerance rule, it also appears to be a mandated reporting offense. The school officials had no choice but to report and expel, and the prosecutor likely didn’t either, looking at the evidence. She not only committed the prohibited acts, she had INTENT to violate the school rule – her lying shows mens rea.

    On various Facebook groups and on the clearly biased local news site, everyone is crying racism. I see a VERY seriously stupid decision made by a student who not only should have known better, but DID know better – as shown by her lying about what she did. I don’t see this as much of an issue – this is the kind of thing schools have to come down hard on as a deterrent to other kids.

    I don’t know if she should be charged with a felony – that’s for the courts to decide – but I don’t see how the expulsion goes away.

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  5. 5. Old Frothingslosh 2:01 pm 05/2/2013

    The woman mixed up a chemical reaction and put it in a sealed glass jar that then blew apart expelling sharp pieces of broken glass. Other than the fact that this was a chemical reaction, no science was being done here, this was no “experiment”. Nothing scientific was to be learned. Sure, some want to play the race card and say “if you don’t give a black person a pass on anything they do, that’s racist”. No one was hurt this time, but but how do you explain to the parents next time when flying glass puts out an eye if you excuse the action this time and treat the bomb maker as an inquisitive lover of science?

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  6. 6. atomsandnumbers 2:18 pm 05/2/2013

    To say that “no science was being done here, this was no experiment. Nothing scientific was to be learned” is a narrow view of science. Any time you try to figure out what happens when…, you are doing science, even if other people already know the answer.

    I do agree, though, that the fact no one was hurt should not excuse her from what she did. Part of “doing science” is knowing how to do it safely, and making use of knowledge that is out there – maybe she read about this reaction and wanted to try it herself, in which case she needed to figure out how to do it safely. I wonder if a teacher would have been willing to try it with her?

    Thanks to Ashutosh for linking to my article on chemical-free chemistry sets. I’ve written my own thoughts on Kiera’s arrest on my blog, at

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  7. 7. M Tucker 2:39 pm 05/2/2013

    Kiera made a mistake but the punishment is a radical overreaction. I think it is a barbaric travesty to treat her as a criminal and charge her with a felony. It makes me sick to think about it. Her mistake was a minor one. Her only mistake was she should have asked a teacher or counselor if it would be OK to bring her experiment to school. Her experiment was a success, no one was hurt but this punishment will do nothing constructive. No one wins.

    I think chemistry is one of the most exciting sciences a young person can study. I too had one of those chemistry sets that Ash described and they are no longer available. I enjoyed many happy hours with that set and I devoured the two books that came with it. That set is the reason I fell in love with science. It is insane that they are now unavailable and that a child must depend on the school system for that sort of discovery and experimentation. It may never materialize until university. We have given up so much. When I was teaching I did my best to introduce as much hands on activities and experiments as I could afford. We did not have much supplied by the district. I never talked down to my female students and never once said that “boys are better at this stuff.” I sure hope Kiera does not lose her curiosity.

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  8. 8. patrickryansully 2:58 pm 05/2/2013

    Oh my God, you people defending Kiera are so naive! And when race got brought in, that was just from another level of conjecture to another problem on another subject. I’m surprised your even intelligent enough to read Scientific American.

    She blew up a Drano Bomb, we used to make them in 7th and 8th grade. Its awesome, its fun, its easy, and its dangerous. Its powerful enough to blow up a mailbox, and the toilet bowl cleaner stains everything permanently, asphalt in my experience. Also, if any of that stuff gets in your eyes, you have a big problem. Skin isn’t too bad, depending on the brand. Its why when dumping it down a clogged sink, you are never supposed to look down, and are advised to wear goggles.

    If it was off school grounds, or didn’t damage anything, if I where a cop, I would let her just go. On school grounds, she should be suspended or expelled, and maybe a small misdemeanor. If she blew up a locker or something then maybe a good ole felony is the way to go. Yes, you could probably blow a locker door off with a well crafted Drano-bomb. Try it in a safe field with precaution, if you don’t believe me. And….oh, they are fun.

    Check out Drano-Bomb, Works-Bomb, Toilet Cleaner Bomb on Youtube. Definitely not a real serious science experiment, usually its a bunch of chuckling teenagers blowing stuff up.

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  9. 9. DianaCox 4:29 pm 05/2/2013

    Information about these bottle bombs is all over the internet, easily searchable, including instructions, warnings and graphic YouTubes. The danger is discussed in this Snopes report, which finds it a TRUE rumor: I don’t for a minute believe she didn’t know it was going to explode.

    She knew what she was doing was wrong. She lied about it. She then said she was dared to do it. I’ll bet it can be shown that she knew from an internet search that it was a bomb, though she probably didn’t think (actually, you could probably put a period after “think”) it would cause that much of an explosion. But this is NOT the kind of behavior that responsible scientists, teachers and school administrators should be supporting, much less the legal authorities who are enforcing laws that are on the books – call them zero tolerance or mandated reporting – to protect our children from dangerous situations when they are at school. Schools have rules that are stricter than what you can do in one’s own home or backyard, for good reason.

    This will likely result in expulsion (it should) and a misdemeanor charge that will be expunged from her record after a period of time of good behavior. She can probably turn it into a good essay for her college applications as well, if she’s as smart as suggested. It will make her stand out from the crowd at some schools.

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  10. 10. QuipsTravails 6:32 pm 05/2/2013

    If you read the arrest report, now linked in the other article, you will find that she used a PLASTIC bottle, was on campus “near the gazebo” with ONE other student. Stupid? Probably. Felony? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    You can see the gazebo via google satellite, it’s on the west side of the lake near the lawn between two outbuildings. Pretty clear that if she chose this spot, there was no malice intended and little danger.

    She did say she was expecting smoke – so it stands to reason she might not have expected the explosion.

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  11. 11. EmilyG 9:30 pm 05/2/2013

    If you google on science house and countertop chemistry you can find some fun experiments. Not sure why, but their regular site is down. Yes, it involves a few dangerous chemicals. (I admit that I have broken the heart of a few nine-year old kids by insisting that I be the one to handle the hydrochloric acid. Silly me.)

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  12. 12. jonhuie 1:53 am 05/3/2013

    For those who agree that this was a grotesque overreach, there is a petition to sign at

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  13. 13. JFTrumm 8:50 am 05/3/2013

    According to, the same prosecutor who’s trying to throw the book at Keira Wilmot last week “decided not to prosecute a [white] teenager . . . who accidentally shot and killed his younger brother with a BB gun. Glotfelty declared the case ‘a tragic accident.’” That case may differ from the instant one on the question of intent–though from the published accounts, there is no suggestion that Keira Wilmot had any malicious intent whatsoever. But something is amiss in a community where a small pop in a plastic bottle that hurt no one and damaged no property is treated as an adult felony.

    One comment above purports to have been written by someone who pretentiously and ungrammatically describes herself as “a PhD, JD biotech patent attorney.” This attorney is mistaken that the decision to charge this student with a felony “is for the courts to decide.” Selection of charges is a prosecutorial function. The commenter opines that Keira’s actions “will likely result in . . . a misdemeanor charge.” Again, this is simply incorrect. Keira has already been charged with a felony–and as a adult, not a juvenile. She also posits that Keira’s offense is “flaunting [sic] authority.” (I think she means flouting authority.) Wow. If that’s a felony now, most of the 16 year olds I know should be in the slammer.

    The school principal should have given Keira Wilmot a detention and required her to write a five-page paper on the safe handling of potentially explosive chemicals. Instead, what has happened here exposes the bankruptcy of zero-tolerance policies, raises uncomfortable questions of racially-motivated prosecutorial judgement, and reveals a frightened community that is unable to distinguish between a common teenage pastime and the actions of the Boston Marathon bombers.

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  14. 14. harold_lloyd 10:04 am 05/3/2013

    This was no innocent girl being discouraged from seeking knowledge.

    It was before school, 7AM, and she mixed the chemicals and screwed on the cap.
    She knew what would happen, she wanted it to explode.
    No teacher was involved.

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  15. 15. marclevesque 12:15 pm 05/3/2013

    The severity of risk involved with these acid or bubble “bombs” depends on many factors. For example this one is taught to kids of all ages [ ]. We also need to consider intent. Is it to do harm ? Is it to destroy property ? In a nutshell, Kiera Wilmot should not be treated as if she had done something that she clearly has not.

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  16. 16. DianaCox 5:56 pm 05/3/2013

    Yup, I used a few words regarding the steps in criminal prosecution incorrectly – I don’t practice crim law. The prosecutor has SOME discretion whether to charge or not, and at what level (misdemeanor or felony; juvenile or adult court). Is he overcharging here? Maybe – but ultimately it is up to the judge (and possibly jury) to decide which charges are justified and provable. The judge also has discretion as to sentencing. I also meant that I would take odds that there will be an offer to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea. And indeed, I meant flouting authority. Shame on me.

    But make no mistake – the exploding bottle resulted in toilet bowl cleaner being violently sprayed everywhere around it, and probably for some number of feet. Check out the material data sheet for consumer-strength Chlorox TB cleaner with bleach:

    Sodium hypochlorite 1-5%
    Sodium hydroxide 0.1-1%

    I accidentally mouth-pipetted 0.1 N NaOH into my mouth in college – that is about 0.4% NaOH. I rushed to the sink immediately, and perhaps 3-5 seconds elapsed before I spit and started rinsing, and I was already spitting out chunks of oral mucosa. I’m glad it didn’t get into my eyes – my buccal mucosa and tongue regenerated better than my corneas would have.

    And of course 5% bleach itself will cause burns.

    The intent necessary to convict her of causing an explosion on school grounds is not the intent to cause harm. The intent necessary is whether she intend to commit the inherently dangerous and thus forbidden acts of bringing contraband to school (a given) and creating the bomb (which I suspect will NOT be difficult to prove, especially if it can be shown that she knew it was likely to explode).

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  17. 17. Rozumbrada 1:32 am 05/7/2013

    It amazes me, DianaCox, how heartless and prejudiced you are.

    The main arguments of DianaCox can be summarized thus: she PRESUMES Kiera is evil, and so given several possibilities she ALWAYS select the one that presumes Kiera intended to so something evil.

    DianaCox even totally makes up an accusation that Kiera was lying about the experiment being for science fair.

    NOTHING in the arrest report says she was lying and NOTHING in the subsequent interview with the principal shows she was lying.

    If you plan to do an experiment at the science fair, it is common sense to first run a test experiment.

    There is NO evidence Kiera did not intend to do this at the science fair, NO evidence this was not a test run experiment for the science fair.

    There is NO evidence Kiera said her teacher authorized it.

    BTW, I did NOT clear my science fair experiment beforehand with my teacher, performed it the evening before the fair, did not specify in the report that the subject of the experiment, which involved drinking, was I myself, and got the 2nd prize for my last minute, ethically questionable, totally UNAUTHORIZED but totally SCIENTIFIC experiment.

    This may surprise DianaCox, but AUTHORIZATION does not make science. And if you do an experiment as a test run for the science fair, than it IS a science experiment for the science fair.

    The police NEVER said Kiera lied to them. They in fact would CHARGE Kiera for lying to them.

    The PRINCIPAL said Kiera was “VERY HONEST” after the incident and he NEVER doubted she meant it as an experiment.

    But you see DianaCox knows a lot more than the cops or the principal, she knows what happened better than the people who were there, better than the people who spoke to Kiera right after.

    And most of all DianaCox KNOWS Kiera better than anyone. Better than the principal, who said “She has never been in trouble before. Ever.”

    Perhaps DianaCox can tell just by looking at Kiera’s picture.

    And so DianaCox libels Kiera and then goes on to make numerous other blatantly prejudiced assumptions about Kiera masquerading as fact.

    DianaCox made up her mind and she is using her credentials and considerable effort try to destroy any fair treatment of Kiera based on actual evidence instead of PREJUDICE.

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  18. 18. Rozumbrada 1:57 am 05/7/2013

    To QuipsTravails: Note also that she reportedly used only a small 8 oz bottle, indicating she in no way was trying emulate the “Works” bomb videos that is typically use huge 2L bottles.

    Note also the report states the assitant principal located the small plastic bottle, apparently intact, so obviously it was not ripped to pieces as in the video.

    Posters like DianaCox simply make up their mind about a girl like Kiera and see ONLY what they wish to see and nothing more.

    And posters also shows ABSOLUTE IGNORANCE about the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.

    It is NOT for Kiera to prove she did not intent whatever DianaCox and others accuse her or intending; such proofs are in fact often impossible (like me demanding DianaCox to prove she is not motivated by being a racist).

    In a civilized world, you do NOT PREJUDGE CHILDREN in order to damn them; and the level of proof should be especially high when the kid is accused of particularly dangerous intentions, not to mention when she is being CRIMINALIZED.

    Note to JFTrumm: Kiera was NOT charged as an adult; I do not know how the media got this wrong.

    Other then that, kudos on your response to DianaCox, who evidently knows nothing about Florida’s criminal law.

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  19. 19. Rozumbrada 2:39 am 05/7/2013

    To Old Frothingslosh:

    Why do you need to LIBEL a girl who is still a minor, not even legally adult?

    Does it make you feel good?

    Kiera did NOT use a glass bottle; she used a smal 8oz plastic bottle and it was found, apparently intact, by the assistant principal.

    In other words there is so far NO evidence the small plastic battle even was damaged except for the cap that blew off.

    Given your eagerness to dismiss any defense of Kiera as motivated by her being black, given your focus on race, this vile lie you made up about a glass bottle bomb is indeed likely motivated by your own racism.

    And no, I do not think she was charged because she was black — Polk county is infamous for its criminalization of kids of all colors. But it is becoming clear that a lot of posters are prejudging Kiera, and even making up lies about her, mainly because she is black.

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