Call to Arms: Help Kiera Wilmot

On Monday, April 22, Kiera Wilmot and a friend decided to try out an experiment they heard about from YouTube, mixing aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a plastic water bottle at their school, Bartow High.  The chemicals reacted and caused the top to pop off, producing a popping sound and a little smoke.  Just an average 16-year-old high school student attempting a science experiment.

An assistant principal walked by, saw Ms. Wilmot, and the story goes downhill from here.

In a moment of utter stupidity, the assistant principal accused Ms. Wilmot of creating "explosive devices" on school property.  That moment cascaded into an avalanche of stupidity; now this bright young girl is facing a minimum of 10 out of school suspension, a possible expulsion, and possible felony charges.  The legal system in Polk County is even debating whether to try her as a juvenile or an adult.

The Polk County school district has a publicly stated mission:  To provide a high quality education for all students.  You would think that a high quality education would include encouraging students to learn on their own, to explore the world around them, to take chances and get messy.  After all, memorizing facts does not a good education make; critical thinking and creativity do.

Yet when a student tries to take a chance, take risks, get messy, the school fails in a spectacular fashion, not only losing a great teaching moment, but also punishing said student for wanting to learn more, take chances, and get messy.

And when the public learns about this colossal screw up on the part of the school system?

Instead of admitting that they overreacted, the school system issued a statement about "students making wrong choices" and the consequences of those choices.  What about the consequences of the school district making mistakes?  What about the authorities who arrested Kiera Wilmot and booked her at the Polk County Juvenile Center?  Will any of these adults own up to their own "wrong choices"?

Sadly, I doubt it.  But that doesn't mean I will sit idly by while this young woman gets railroaded.  And I hope you feel the same way.

First, there is a petition on asking the state attorney to drop the charges against let Kiera Wilmot.  I signed this petition, and I encourage you to sign as well.

Second, you can contact the Bartow High School principal and the Polk Country School superintendent and ask them to use their own common sense and let Kiera Wilmot come back to school to finish her junior year.  Their contact information is:
  • Bartow High School Principal Ronald Pritchard 
  • Polk County Superintendent: Dr. John Stewart 
    • Address: 1915 South Floral Avenue, Bartow, FL 33831 
    • Email:
    • Phone: (863) 534-0521 Fax: (863) 519-8231 

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