‘If I Could Go Back In Time, I Definitely Wouldn’t Have Done It:’ Kiera Wilmont’s Heartfelt Letter On Her ‘Criminal’ Science Project
After model student Kiera Wilmot was arrested and removed from her high school for doing a science experiment on school property, hundreds of thousands of people across the country signed petitions asking for charges to be dropped and for her to be reinstated in school. Below, Kiera blogs about how she and her family have been affected by the school-to-prison pipeline.
My science teacher said we could each pick a science project that has to do with biology, chemistry or physics. He said we couldn’t do a baking soda and vinegar volcano because that was at the fifth grade level. I especially like chemistry, and the reacting. I like seeing two or more different things become something else. So I was asking friends around for project ideas. Someone suggested to me to combine aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a water bottle to make a volcano.
That morning I was taking the experiment to be approved by my teacher. My friends and I were outside, and they wanted to see how it worked. Eventually they convinced me to try it. It did not react the way I expected it to. The lid popped off and smoke came out. If I could go back in time, I definitely wouldn’t have done it.
The principal and dean of discipline came over and asked me to tell them what happened. I was kind of scared, but I thought they’d understand it was an accident. Before that, I’ve never gotten in trouble this year other than a dress code violation because my skirt was two inches too short. I told him it was my science experiment. In my third period class I was called up to discipline. I wrote a statement to the dean of discipline explaining what had happened. Afterward I was told to sit on the resource officer’s office. They told me I made a bomb on school property, and police possibly have the right to arrest me. I didn’t know what they classified as a bomb. I was worried I accidently made a bomb. I was really hurt and scared. I was crying.
They didn’t read me any rights. They arrested me after sitting in the office for a couple minutes. They handcuffed me. It cut my wrist, and really hurt sitting on my hands behind my back.
They took me to a juvenile assessment center. I was sitting in this room with no clock so it felt like years of me sitting there. When my mom came, she didn’t say anything. She just had this really disappointed look, and told me I lost privileges. But she’s really been supportive of me. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have my mom. I would have dug a hole and sat there for the rest of my life.
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