Florida Teen Charged with Adult Felonies for Misguided Science Project

A 16-year-old student called a "good kid" by her principal will be tried as an adult on two felony charges after conducting what her classmates called "a science project gone bad."

Kiera Wilmot of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida, was mixing household chemicals in a plastic bottle on school grounds when the ingredients suddenly interacted in a negative way, causing the top of the bottle to fly off and smoke to billow from the bottle.

No damage was caused and no injuries were sustained.

The school's resource officer held Wilmot until the police arrived and charged her with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device.

She was then handcuffed and taken to a juvenile assessment center.

According to Wilmot she was conducting a science experiment, but her teacher told police she did not assign such a project.

Principal Ron Pritchard, however, backed Wilmot up, telling WTSP, "She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did," adding "honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone."

Wilmot was expelled just the same, and will now "be forced to complete her diploma through an expulsion program," according to the Miami New Times.

The school district has since released a statement saying it had no choice but to "uphold our code of conduct rules" in order "to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment "

The statement continued: "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."

UPDATE: An incident report obtained by the Miami New Times' Riptide blog shows that Wilmot was apparently constructing a so-called "Works bomb" — a well-known "experiment" among teens that almost always gets the parties involved in trouble.

In her defense, Wilmot told the police she "thought it would just cause some smoke."

[H/T: Reason, screengrab via WTSP]