A year ago, I wrote about Kiera Wilmot, a student at Bartow (Florida) High School who was expelled and criminally charged for setting off an explosive after her science class volcano experiment backfired.
The trumped-up charges were eventually dropped, but Wilmot’s brush with the law continues to haunt her. According to civil liberties site Police State USA, the charges continue to taint Kiera’s record and impede her chances for success.
“All my charges have been dropped, but the lawyer says that it takes 5 years to clear each felony off the record,” Wilmot told the publication. She wants to be an engineer “building robots that can do tasks like surgeries or driving cars.” Here’s a young woman who was an honor student with no record of trouble. The principal described her as a “good kid” before expelling her anyway because he felt bound by the school’s zero-tolerance policy.
Suspending her might have been justified, but expelling her was over the top. The law slapping her with criminal charges for so obvious a mistake was shameful.
These are the incidents that make me lose faith in our institutions of education and law enforcement. The fear that has taken root in the aftermath of 9-11 and various school shootings has turned officials into overreactionary fools.
The year Wilmot has endured is tragic. Parties involved should atone for the injustice by helping the teen get back on her feet. I doubt they will, though. That would involve an admission of wrongdoing.
I suspect that Wilmot will achieve her dreams with hard work and determination, with no thanks to the society that should have supported her.