Oh good grief. A teenage girl described as a good student with a clean record just got expelled and arrested for what even her principal says was a "science experiment" gone wrong. If you've got a budding scientist at home, you might want to warn them that common sense has officially been kicked out of the education system.
Why else would a school call in the cops for something they're supposed to be teaching kids to do?
Kiera Wilmot allegedly mixed a few household chemicals in an 8-ounce water bottle this week. The top popped off, and smoke billowed out.
For that, she's been charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device in a criminal court. Whether or not she's convicted, the 16-year-old won't be allowed to return to Bartow High School because she's been expelled.
Over a science experiment?
So much for encouraging our kids to be curious, huh?
The fact that a few household chemicals technically made a bomb sounds scary until you step back and think about how science works. It's all about trial and error. Sometimes things go right, and sometimes things go wrong, but you don't know until you try it.
According to Kiera's principal, she was cooperative and truthful about everything that happened. She said she thought nothing more than smoke would come out out. Her peers say it was just an experiment gone wrong, and more importantly, the principal agrees. He's called her a good student, said her actions weren't malicious.
What's so frustrating about all of this is the principal makes it sound like Kiera was doing exactly what schools should be teaching kids. We want them to try new things, to investigate, to discover.
But it's not enough to plant the seed in a child's mind. We have to give them the wiggle room to do it too.
That means not cutting kids off at the knees when they enter new territory. It means not treating kids like criminals. It means not calling the cops on a kid over a science experiment!
The more these ridiculous punishments occur, the less likely it is that kids will want to push their limits and really dive into their education. We aren't just punishing one or two kids, we're scaring kids away from the very thing we should be pushing them toward.
If this was your kid, what would you do?
Image via horia varlan/Flickr