Black Voices

Kiera Wilmot, Teen Arrested In Botched Science Experiment, Haunted By Felony Record

Last May, the saga of Kiera Wilmot, a Florida high school student who was arrested and expelled after a science experiment exploded, put a spotlight on schools' zero-tolerance policies. Amid the outrage over her story, charges against her were dropped and she was allowed back in school.

Next week, Wilmot graduates from high school. She's set to participate in a STEM program at Florida Polytechnic University in the fall, according to a press release from the Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy organization.

But a felony arrest record continues to haunt her. Though criminal charges were dismissed last year, Wilmot says in a video produced by the Advancement Project that "the lawyer says it takes five years to clear each felony off the record."

Wilmot was known as a model student. But she ran into trouble after combining aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a bottle as a science experiment. The mixture blew off a bottle cap and produced smoke. No one was injured and no property was damaged. Wilmot was charged with creating a chemical explosion on school grounds, and was expelled.

In a blog she wrote for The Huffington Post, Wilmot described the experience.

"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," wrote Wilmot.

Best of luck in college, Kiera!

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