Thank you, thank you, thank you for reaching out and speaking up for #KieraWilmot and showing #Solidarity4Wilmot. I teared up as I read all of the offers of support to assist Kiera and other students all over the country. I was amazed, but not at all surprised. I know this community of educators, teachers, scientists, makers, tinkerers, parents, grand-parents and even play aunties/uncles like myself is full of generosity and compassion.
So, thank you. Thank you again. You'll be hearing from me.
Good news: I have heard from Kiera's mom, Ms. Marie Wilmot. She reached out to me (email), and let me know that she appreciates the support she and her daughters have received from so many people, especially the science community.
No doubt this is very stressful to them all. Kiera is completing the school year at the 'Alternative School' and her identical twin sister is still at Bartow High School. She has to deal with the wise-cracking kids who might think taunting her for her sister's public ordeal is a cute subject. (Ackk! I can just imagine.)
She also let me know that the family has a lawyer, Mr. Larry Hardaway. He's working diligently to clear Kiera of all charges. Some headway may have been made with the School district. She may be able to return to Bartow High School next year for her senior year - meaning the expulsion is kicked out. However, the criminal charges are still pending. But I am concerned that State Attorney, Jerry Hill, is talking of settling the cases with probation. Probation is NOT a good option for Kiera. Probation would mean a guilty charge -- of a felony. It means she is in the Justice system with an adult charge. This is not okay in my book. Nothing that girl did warrants an arrest or criminal record to stain her future.
Here's hoping the lawyer is on that. In the meantime, the financial strain of a legal defense is something the mother of this family wasn't set up to do. (What family is?) Many people asked about contributing to a legal fund for Kiera. The Crowdtilt Fundraiser is legitimate and the family is aware of it.
Ms. Wilmot has also created an Indiegogo campaign: Kiera Wilmot Official Fund.
Letters of support and petition still need signatures of support.
Change.org Petition to Polk County School District to Not Expel Kiera Wilmot from School
Change.org Petition to the State Attorney to drop charges against Kiera Wilmot.
Other comments on this situation worth reading:
The conversation is continuing - about social justice, education, disparities, and STEM. Let's also continue to find and act on ways to broaden participation in the sciences. Sometimes that means simply not shutting the door on someone before they can walk through it.
ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education has issued a Call for Response from STEM Educators: Sixteen-year old honor student, Kiera Wilmot, expelled, arrested and charged with a felony over a commonplace science project.
Teachable Moments in Science: Kiera Wilmot by Shareef Jackson
Kiera Wilmot Expelled: Scientists, Teachers Outraged By Harsh Punishment For Teens Experiment Accident at the NSTA Web News Digest.
How Not to Nurture Young Scientists by Tamara Johnson at the New York Academy of Sciences.
5 Ways to Stop a Black Scientist: Kiera Wilmot's Arrest by Chris Emdin at Huffington Post Blog.