Did she have prior issues? If there were prior issues with warnings/suspensions, yeah I could see expulsion. If first time ever in trouble, there is something else going on here. perfect behavior record seems to suggest no priors.
added: apparently this is an institutionalized system she was just shoved into, please read the link in this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5636788
Here's one reference point:
MIT students' pyrotechnics fun caused five people to suffer chemical burns (including three paramedics treating the first two). They were punished with community service and fines.
"The "Kids for cash" scandal unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were accused of accepting money from Robert Mericle, builder of two private, for-profit juvenile facilities, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh sentences on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the number of inmates in the detention centers.
For example, Ciavarella sentenced children to extended stays in juvenile detention for offenses as minimal as mocking a principal on Myspace, trespassing in a vacant building, and shoplifting DVDs from Wal-mart."
Not saying this is what happened here, but a plausible hypothesis.
If I were the sentencing judge I'd add every sentence given by those judges to the kids, double it and make all involved serve them. With no parole. In general population.
Not because they were enforced in this case, but because of the countless times they were probably threatened and not enforced. These rules don't enforce justice, they leave justice up to the arbitrary will of an administrator.
My school has a rule that states "If a phone is seen out, you will get 20 lunch detentions." And yet most of the teachers do not enforce the rule. In fact, here I am typing a response on Hacker News. Yet if a teacher were to not like me, he/she could single out me and only me and give me lunch detentions. This may only be a simple example, but it scales all the way up to serious offenses and the higher level administrators as well.
"You seem like a nice kid, I'll let you off this time"
It becomes even worse when bias and prejudice are involved.
I believe laws are best wielded against people you don't like.
There are so many laws, so broad, so contradictory, every one of us is doing something wrong at any point in time.
So enforcement is just a matter of choosing how to punishing your enemies.
Lets have preschoolers who throw Lego thrown in jail while we're about it.
Honestly, this "zero tolerance" just ruins lives. You've just taken an A grade student who could be contributing to society and possibly put them into a life of poverty and disadvantage. That's great for society.
This statement is actually not absurd. Well, actually, it is an absurdity, but it's also an accurate description of reality.
I was reading a comment by someone (I believe a law professor and criminal defense lawyer) who rode along with a highway patrolman in the US. They played a game, where the officer would follow a car, and the officer would win if he could name a legitimate traffic offense committed by the car, for which he could pull the driver over if he was so inclined.
The officer won every time, usually within well under a mile.
There are so many laws, and they are so complex, that just about anyone is probably guilty of something if you just look hard enough. Only the thin paper shield of the Constitution (in particular 4th and 5th amendments) is about the only thing that stands between just about anybody in the US and prison.
For more, see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc
Anything in the preceding comments which seems ridiculous has been introduced by the concept of "zero tolerance", which precludes common sense.
Zero means zero. If the rules are enforced as written - arguably as intended - this is what you get. The preceding comments just take the concept to its logical conclusion.
Made of pleather.
Really? Citation needed, I think.
Or you could give personal witness of seeing a case that did not make it on the news. But no citation.
Let's assume just for the sake of argument that every actor from their own perspective is reasonable.
The problem is that a small group of parents are at the top of the "food chain." These parents are self-selected and therefore have a more overbearing personality (i.e. helicopter parents) than average.
So these parents sit in PTA meetings or similar and pass more and more rules based on the latest moral panic (e.g. guns, knives, hairstyles, video games, healthy food, etc). They aren't trying to strike a "balance" to find what is reasonable they're trying to keep the kids safe even at the cost of everything and everyone else.
Now you might say "but isn't the principal in charge?!" well, no, not really. I mean the principal is in charge of certain things but if they fail to keep the PTA happy they will be replaced by someone who will. Child safety (as the PTA will spin it) is one of those areas where principals have very little freedom.
With this specific incident in mind, even if the principal AND the teachers thought it was crazy to both exclude and arrest her, they might have effectively zero say in the matter.
We did have to miss out on recess the next day thou...
Stupid, draconian laws enforced by ridiculous school administrators. Zero-tolerance laws are illogical because they make an attempt to pass-off guilt, logic, and responsibility by simply saying "perform any act bordering on this description and we have no choice but to come down on you with this one-size-fits all penalty."
They are willing to screw up a kid's life because they are unwilling to use logic. Bringing a gun into a classroom != having a pocket knife in the center console of your car, but they are treated as if they are the same act.
You are right.
This was not an over-reaction of a reported explosive device (made with caustic acids and bases - maybe a mix of bleach, ammonia, drain cleaner, etc) going off on school grounds in this climate of fear after the Boston bombings.
This can be more easily explained away by the hate and bigotry brewing in this white school and this white police force. I mean, they are white, she is not. Nothing more to say here.
P.S., nothing is likely to come of this once the facts are brought up in court... http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/312750/250/Stude...
There are 300MM people in this country, things like this will happen regardless of your race and color.
Your conjecture is an embarrassment to this community.
Maybe you meant to reply to the GP?
Imagine losing your right to vote, forever, because of this incident.
Let's do it?
But also, my thinking is that recently the US seems to want to trample down many "criminals" for basically downloading things that someone regrets them downloading. I worry about a future where DA's are overzealous about going after people without any mens rea and/or well after the victims of a crime have expressed no interest in continuing the case. Since, in the US, jails are intended to punish instead of rehabilitate and having a felony conviction takes away many of your rights I think they need to be far more careful who they level charges against.
I know practically nothing of the charges or pertinent laws here mind you.
Even an American adult, in most states, can make a felony disappear with some effort and the cooperation of the convicting judge. In other states, it becomes a charge but no conviction is recorded from the company's perspective, so you can say "no, I've never been convicted of a felony."
(I'm a felon with extensive experience in this area.)
Typical BigCos get a standard background on you (these are measured in dozens of dollars), and any further investigation that involves a human being is reserved for a very, very rare candidate. HR and operations are expensive at scale.
Since everybody rational considers this news item ridiculous, I think we can safely say this girl will be alright. The expulsion is the thing she'll have to work around, but even a felony conviction is not a life-ender. Many companies specifically hire felons because they're a tax break if filed properly.
I can't be the only one here to have passed this process. I've done it a couple times. This vaguely resembles my military security clearance some decades ago in that my Army CO never had any idea I got picked up by the cops for truancy after skipping out of gym class in my sophomore high school year, but the clearance guy knew, didn't really care (I mean, come on, really?), and issued my clearance and that credential is good enough for my CO not to personally investigate my police record.
Needless to say the pass fail criteria provided to the 3rd party doesn't include things like "Is the candidate a jew?". They ARE often dumb, but not that dumb.
Usually it involves a lot of verification of resume "facts" like if the candidate claims no criminal record but a simple glance at a public facebook feed shows all manner of talk about his extensive time in jail, the red flag gets raised. No need to tell the company what church he attends, just warn them to take a second (first?) look at the criminal background report.
There wasn't a news article about me so I don't have to worry about being Googled. I do feel bad for the girl because of that.
However, so far employers have found my story amusing so I'm convinced that high school hijinks affect job prospects terribly.
Maybe "real life" immediate consequences but I can't help a strong sense of frustration at the "system" even more than sympathy for this one individual given the irony.
How Kafkaesque is that? "We made these rules just so that we can punish you if you don't follow them!"
There's really two issues. The first is the hard core fascist way of thinking where anything not compulsory is forbidden and anything not forbidden is compulsory, so her mistake was doing anything on school grounds with even a minute quantity of creativity. School is the place where human spirit is intentionally by design ground down, turn them into uncreative uneducated automatons so they can appreciate tightening bolts on the factory assembly line for 12 hours a day. Oh wait that's been obsolete for decades. Oh well who cares there's money to be made doing it and metric goals to achieve and tests to teach to.
The second failure mode is its really pretty stupid, just generally speaking, to randomly mix stuff together, and randomly screwing around mixing stuff isn't chemistry, so lets be honest about what really happened, she read about how to blow stuff up in a fun mostly harmless manner and thought it would be fun to try at school, and it worked and was safe, but she got caught. Its mostly harmless so rather than convicting her of some kind of terrorism felony they showed some mercy (or the police properly and rightly told the school to F off) so her story is being rewritten with lots of randomness added. There may be some interaction with profound ignorance of chemistry on all sides of the story from the kid on up.
Link to police report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/138927259/Wilmot-Arrest
If the kid brought these chemicals to school to conduct the experiment, then I would definitely venture that there is fault with the kid here, but hardly felony territory and questionable expulsion territory. It really depends on the severity of the incident and the amount of prior knowledge the kid had about the safety. The severity should take into account both the size of the explosion and whether or not students and teachers were at risk when this experiment was conducted. Most kids who know something might be a bit dangerous or uncertain at least have the common sense to conduct these experiments in places where people are unlikely to experience bodily harm. Everyone I knew as a kid that did something like this (including myself) knew enough to guess the maximum magnitude of potential damage and made sure to conduct such experiments far enough from others. When you hear about kids playing with hardcore stuff like a homemade pipe bomb, it's usually a rural or suburban kid that goes way out into the woods to conduct their experiments. When it is something minor like strapping a bunch of Estes model rocket engines together and lighting them, they know enough to have everyone stand far enough back and behind cover before starting the fuse for the experiment. Expulsion really is only merited if humans were actually legitimately at risk.
They don't need to have knowledge of the experiment to be culpable, just knowledge that these chemicals were made available without adult supervision. Lab/chemical safety is no joke and I would bet that it was lax or non-existent oversight of these chemicals that prompted this. Kids will be kids. They have limited knowledge of the consequences of their actions, especially when chemistry is involved.
The best situation is one where chemistry can be taught safely in schools by teachers with enough knowledge and good sense to provide a safe environment. The next best alternative is to provide a limited subset of chemistry equipment and chemicals that cannot cause an explosion or serious harm, but still provide educational value. Only when neither of those two conditions can be met, should you remove lab chemistry from an educational environment. This is certainly not desirable, but still better than providing an unsafe environment for chemistry.
She's 16, she's not a child.
What is wrong with this world? It's understandable that this was dangerous, but they just destroyed this girl's future. First of all, they released her name to the public, second of all, this was a first offence, third, this wasn't an intentional bombing. It literally says, it was a science experiment gone wrong.
Did you read the part where she was creating _explosives_ on school property? Especially within two weeks of a major bombing involving household materials!?
That is an allegation, what's your evidence? She enjoys the privilege of assumption of innocence as well as a trial, yet you've rushed to judgment based on what?
I suppose based on the fact the kid mixed chemicals and sealed the chamber? I've done the same, multiple times. Never was I surprised at the result.
I suppose OP could be correct and my racist views led me to believe her intentions were the same as mine when it was me mixing chemicals and sealing the chamber, somehow I doubt it.
I am just making this post to point out that what she was doing COULD have been dangerous or fatal, it just wasn't.
Fortunately plastic containers will fail long before the buildup of pressure becomes too powerful. But in general, that kind of explosion does and can kill.
The most she deserves in this case is a rap on the knuckle. I'd say not even that - maybe a gentle talking to - "be inquisitive, explore ... but be a little more careful."
What is ignorant is the fact that reddit/hn is willing to completely ignore the fact that the intent was to mix chemicals and make an explosive device. Ask any school administrator if a student of any race would be punished for that.
Look at it from an administrators perspective, they are legally obligated to maintain a safe environment for children. If another student was injured it would be their job/income/family on the line.
But I'd like to know what chemicals were in the bottle before going too far into a conversation on this, as that defines how dangerous her experiment was. There are certain household chemicals that you do not want to see in a reaction that generates a small explosion and smoke. Some that will burn the lungs severely or cause blindness.
I doubt it was a decision based on race. She's obviously a "good" kid, and the cops and admin know it.
What's bullshit is that she was doing a very low-risk "experiment". It doesn't really sound like a real experiment, just a curious kid trying something out. Or at worst, the kind of harmless prank everyone used to do. But it was harmless, and she was probably just doing it for fun, or because she was curious.
Oh, I have no doubt she was just trying something out, but it's hardly guaranteed to be harmless. Worst case, you might mix something like bleach and ammonia, and kill half the school.
Can't tell without further details, but the fact that she was surprised is scary. I wouldn't expel her, though, just give her a long and serious talking-to.
Wow, alarmist much? Two seconds of googling suggests that it makes chloramine, which isn't exactly mustard gas ( http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicchemicals/a/Mixing-Bleach... ).
As for not knowing what the mixture will do--well, there's a really obvious way to find out, right? We're all about TDD here.
No way would that kill half the school. Might hospitalize some people in the room, but that's the worst realistic scenario.
The school officials might know it, but I'm not so sure about the cops. It seems she was expelled due to the school system's zero tolerance policy. What about the felony charges? That was a separate decision by the cops or the District Attorney. I doubt violating a school policy requires the filing of criminal charges.
Most school administrators, in my experience at least, seem to be zealots and jump at the chance to put students "in their place".
The Wikipedia article cites the FBI's definition of a WMD, which includes rockets that contain more than 4 ounces of propellant. For comparison, an Estes D size rocket engine is less than a single ounce (~0.8oz). It also states that any rocket with an incendiary charge of more than one quarter ounce is a WMD, but if you actually read the statute and not Wikipedia's summary you'll read that the charge has to be a known explosive substance like C4 or ANFO, not something silly like Draino and aluminum foil or dry ice in a plastic bottle, unless there is a clear intention of causing harm, injury or death. Here's a video of 10 grams of C4, which is about a third of an ounce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdhuR2rJJIU
These definitions of a WMD aren't that crazy.
I can only imagine someone with evil enough intent to put a canister like that in one of those Glade "bathroom smelly" devices. In a public restroom, you'd be spreading death.
Jesus. No, this interested student made what, to any scientist in the history of the world, would have to be considered a good choice - mix some stuff and see what happens, outdoors and well away from anybody.
This is the new American culture of fear. It's what will ruin America - is already doing so.
America's edge has always been due to risk-takers, and we're doing our damndest never to expose our kids to the least bit of risk, to the point now, as in this case, of explicit criminalization of risk-takers. And if you think that's not going to ruin what I remember as being a pretty kick-ass nation, then I'm not the naive one. I can only assume you don't have kids in school at the moment, or your kids have an exceptional school.
But the people who have to rebuild her are people like the girl here - and without those people there may be a bunch of buildings in the geographical area that was once North America, but it will not be worthy of America.
America is special, because it was founded by people who wanted to be free, not founded by some warlords who wanted to rule over others. There is a France today because some people conquered and area and set themself up to rule. Should France be destroyed, then that will be the end of it.
Should America be destroyed, even to the point where the land that is America is just radioactive wasteland, then it can be refounded anywhere else: the Russian steppes, the island of Malta, the moon. All that are required is the idea of freedom.
But ideas can and will die if they are not nurtured by people who believe in them. This girl could have grown up to strengthen America, but now she will instead learn that thinking is dangerous, that curiosity should be oppressed, that blind obedience is the only thing that will keep you safe, that questions are treason.
And that can destroy America.
America was founded by people who wanted to be free, including the freedom to rule over the others they kept as slaves.
The firework was lit and tossed into one of the steel barrels used as garbage containers on campus. The two walked down the hall, noted the several seconds of absolute silence which settled over campus following the blast, and walked into the classroom of a teacher they both had, which was generally open during lunch. The teacher looked at both of them, shook his head and said, "Gentlemen..." with a slight smile.
One of the students retyped spirit copier forms (this was several decades ago) for a teacher following lunch. The typewriter used sat in the vestibule to the principle's office. He listened that hour while the yard patrol supervisor and secretary discussed "the bomb" which had gone off, as the faint smell of burned garbage wafted through the building. That day's work had more than the usual share of errors.
Nothing more ever came of it.
My, how the world has changed.
I turned on the tap and a friend lit it. Queue a rather cool jet of flame in the middle of the room. Teacher I guess saw the glow coming from the room. Turned it off.
Received bollocking like none other and a 2 day suspension to underline the seriousness of this.
Notably we were not accused of either arson or trying to blow up the school. Youthful - unacceptable - misadventure.
As usual there aren't any facts on what this girl was doing. On the surface though it seems expulsion and criminal action is way over the top.
When the Head of Chemistry found out he called me an idiot, got me to go to the groundsmans store and get a spade and go and bury the gun cotton somewhere.
Then there was the time I wasn't paying attention when I went to get some sulphuric acid from the store and was doing something and wondering "why is this acid viscous and why are things getting so hot?".
Probably wise that I didn't do Chemistry at University.
 I did try to get some sodium to throw in water, but that didn't work.
yep, times have changed.
This is one of those consequences of treating students like sub-humans up to the time something goes wrong and then they are "charged as adults". I am betting some of this is a teacher and principal trying to CYA for a situation that they didn't control or teach very well.
1) I did learn to spin a butterfly knife during school, that probably was a bit far even then
I really, really hate to conclude this, let alone say so in public, but I think the answer to my question is: "white".
If she were my student, I'd have her back after school, under decent supervision, to see what else she want to blow up, or to put it the proper way, experimental with. Hell, use it to kick of the most inspirational after school chemistry club ever.
Man, what are these people thinking? So sad, a child's natural curiosity becomes criminal. That should never ever happen.
Reminds me of child hackers who end up in the clutches of the law. The whole thing is perverse and absurd.
Due to humanity's tribal history, people have a propensity to think of things in an "us vs them" situation. The other, the alien, the enemy. It's why people readily look for someone different to blame: Hitler could blame the Jews (Godwin's law FTW!), Marx could blame the rich, and blacks and whites can continue to blame each other.
She's a genius. (A black genius to boot, I'm given to understand.) Not one of us, not something familiar. So it's not hard to view her as both a threat, and not human in the same way that people you know are human. Because most of the people you know don't do things like this. (Where by "you" I mean "a random US person," not "a random HN reader." And by "genius" I mean "the average person's perception of someone who mixes together chemicals and makes them blow up," not "the legitimate inferences that can be made about her cognitive abilities based solely on the fact that she performed this particular science experiment.")
Add to that the zero-tolerance policies which may actually say in black and white that she needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, the racial undercurrents which may mean that too many of those involved view the situation in literally black and white, ...
Of course, AFAIK zero-tolerance rules started to become popular after the Columbine high school massacre. So they were intended to protect the community's children from dying in a hail of bullets.
For the federal prosecutor, it's just another day, another felony conviction, another varmint pelt on the wall to advance your career.
This is what they're thinking.
Calling it a 'science experiment gone wrong' is perhaps a bit disingenuous. Had she written down anything about methodology or expected results or any 'chemistry words' at all? Or had she just seen something on YouTube and decided to have a go? Still, this kind of youthful experimentation should be guided into safer forms, and not crushed under the boots of law enforcement.
One if my friends was complaining about the % of their school budget that is set aside for dealing with legal issues (being sued by parents). That is money not being used to teach kids.
We really need to return more power to teachers and school administrators so they can do their jobs without the legal system. But to do that, they need some basic legal protection.
I don't even know where to start pointing out what is wrong with THAT...
Now maybe I was just unlucky, but Washington DC, and rural Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania are hardly considered hotspots of trouble (well, maybe DC, but I was in the nice parts of town!)
That "relatively" is important.
US: 743 per 100,000
Russia: 577 per 100,000
China: 120 per 100,000
Canada: 117 per 100,000
It's difficult to know what happened, but something like a child wears an NRA t-shirt to school; people ask him to change it; he refuses; the discipline escalates; police are called.
The HuffPo article says something about a disruption. Usually children are disruptive because the adult in the situation allows them to be disruptive. Ignore the shirt and there's no disruption. Ask him to leave the class and there's no disruption. (I'm not sure of the situation. Maybe he's standing on the desks and yelling about his First Amendment Rights. (And maybe if he wrote a 1,000 word essay on the first amendment and how it protects speech and why Americans love it so much the school may chose to relax the punishment.)
I understand that there may be times when schools need to call the police. A child with a weapon is capable of killing; a child breaking criminal laws needs to be dealt with.
But, assuming this child stayed calm during the sequence, I can't understand why the police are involved.
If I'd had my house or car burgled and I read this I'd be pretty annoyed that police were spending time on this stuff and not actual crimes.
I was expelled and charged with the same sorts of felony charges - constructing a bomb, detonating a bomb at a school, etc.
With a small bit of lawyering the charges were reduced to one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct for making a loud noise. For that I was able to get "diversion" (like a lighter form of probation for juveniles), just some community service and drug testing, and could have my record sealed at 18.
I was not, however, able to successfully appeal my expulsion.
I hope that this girl will be able to get a similar outcome and not end up as a felon because of this silliness.
This was in the middle of my 10th grade year. My next two and a half years doing home schooling and at the only private school in the city that would take me were terrific, I am very glad my life took a turn the way it did.
I am surprised at how much of the discussion here has focused on race and racism. I don't see that being a factor here; this is simply how public schools in America work.
I did not, however, have a perfect disciplinary record; I had been suspended a couple times for "hacking" type activity.
Step 2. Pass them through to adult courts twice as often as white teens.
Step 3. Keep them in prisons 60% longer for the same crimes.
Step 4. Use big words like "confounding variables" to pretend that it's complicated.
No wonder we asians are talking up the good jobs in America, if this is the policy for such out-of-box thinking.
If I had done that, ten people would have asked my well being here in India, and at max, I would have had to pay the cost of destruction, and later, me and my friends would laugh it off, since its pretty badass.. blown up the roof pfft!
I am not saying what happened to this teen was right. But you can't compare that with India.
PS: Of course I am Indian living in India.
You might know him better as a founder of Intel, or the guy that "Moore's Law" is named after. If he had grown up in today's society, he'd be a felon and Intel wouldn't exist.
I worry about what we might be losing when we don't allow children to experiment.
Totally agreed. I can hear her in my head saying this: "Well that's the last time I experiment with anything new. I learned my lesson."
And that makes me sad.
What is wrong with administrators, and what is wrong with prosecutors?
And where are the lawyers working pro-bono to defend her? And where are the other parents in the school to demand the school do the right thing?
I am appalled and saddened by the crap we force today's youths and young adults to put up with.
Zero tolerance has to go.
There are likely a number of factors but the worst seems to be that they are scared to death by the mainstream media on a nearly daily basis. Fear sells.
"Could a couple of common household chemicals kill your family slowly and painfully if mixed incorrectly by a high school student? Tune in at 11 to find out."
Even at the level of "Well, they just needed a contractor and look who shows up", this sort of thing is deeply disturbing.
So many lives ruined before even becoming teenagers.
Where are their lobbyists?
The department’s investigation showed that the agencies have helped to operate a school-to-prison pipeline whereby children arrested in local schools become entangled in a cycle of incarceration without substantive and procedural protections required by the U.S. Constitution. The department’s findings show that children in Lauderdale County have been routinely and repeatedly incarcerated for allegedly committing school disciplinary infractions and are punished disproportionately, without constitutionally required procedural safeguards. Children have also been arrested at school for offenses as minor as defiance. Furthermore, children on probation are routinely arrested and incarcerated for allegedly violating their probation by committing minor school infractions, such as dress code violations, which result in suspensions. The department’s investigation showed that students most affected by this system are African-American children and children with disabilities.
Where's their money? (AKA "speech").
According to this report, she brought the bottles of chemicals from home to the school at 7AM (likely before first classes), where she mixed them and caused the explosion. Not quite the same as mixing the wrong vials in chem lab without permission.
To be fair, most children are told very early never to mix those.
"Advocates for the abolition of juvenile court
Critics of the juvenile court argue that the definitions of childhood and adolescence that were used to establish the first juvenile courts in America are no longer equivalent to the definitions of childhood and adolescence today. These critics state that the boundary between juvenile and adult is no longer as clear, as children appear to grow up faster, with more exposure to adult ideas, and as adults more often engage in juvenile behaviors and activities."
That's quite a charge against 21yo drinking limit, but I don't imagine the same person using the same arguments in both contexts...
(no. really. That's all it takes.)
In particular, black Florida youth were almost twice as likely to be referred to adult courts as white youth.
I knew about DWB (driving while black) but apparently, LWB (learning while black) is a "thing" too:
A study [...] reports that black students, although they made up just 30% of the population of Miami-Dade County public schools in 2000-01, accounted for half the school arrests in that district.
I expect I would have been charged with WMD possession in the States?
So according to the article we have a girl with good grades and behavior doing something stupid which did not cause any damage or hurt anyone. Her punishment for this is expulsion and trial as adult?
Some stuff is obviously more dangerous than others.
Frankly I am please to see the word "terror" hasn't been weaved in just yet.
I have no idea why they let us do that, and I'm pretty sure we got an A, but this is absurdly on the other end of possible reactions.
And it is something not worthy of felony charge. The message that is sent is terrible.
The paranoia that is gripping this country is absurd and intellectually stifling. The reaction to this student's behavior should be guided encouragement, not knee-jerk punishment.
This guy here makes a very good argument that it is a reaction and not an explosion under ATF guidelines defining how strong something has to be to be an explosion:
He also notes that 2Al + 3H2SO4 -> 3H2 + Al2(SO4)3 is not on the prohibited list of reactions that are federally impermissible without a license.
If you want to fix the drift toward criminalization of trivial things, get some heavy momentum going on tort reform. Sooner the better.
Similarly, drano bombs are "dangerous" and "exciting".
Seems the "science experiment" part was just a cheap excuse, to try to get a free pass. Ironically, it may have made it worse for her..
I did similar things as a kid, just not in school. Bad judgement, but expelled from school and facing trial is just ridiculous.
If my kids were in that school, I'd seriously consider moving.
The school to prison pipeline continues...
I don't know much about US law, but how tf could this be even possible?!
This has been going on for a long time and it is ridiculous.
Words fail me! The top of that flimsy little bottle would pop off if she filled it with grape juice and shook hard. "Possession of a weapon" indeed!
Edit: I suspect she stole the chemicals and/or this was a repeat offense.
There are no grounds to suspect such, the article says "Kiera Wilmot got good grades and had a perfect behavior record.". It's more reasonable to assume that this reaction is a result of the increased fear that recent bombings and school shootings have brought about.
But on second thought, it's probably just the reflexive servility of the average american. The "authorities" charged her with something, so they must be right.
Bah, I mean, what's one more black girl driven to a life of marginalization and petty crime because she was too inquisitive; after all. She wasn't the first, she won't be the last; the system is supposed to divert people like her into career paths appropriate to her social status; in this case, curiosity about vinegar and baking soda means that meth cook is her only viable career choice; because it's not like she could learn enough to be an actual chemist or anything...
This country is FCKD, if we are wasting the potential intellectual capacity of our young, like we are here.
What if we have more capacity that we can use? WRT to half of STEM grad not working in STEM and all that. You don't need a chemist at the local factory anymore when the factory moves to China.
The other thing is its a balance. Destroy an innocent life, vs the school administrators saved the school from terrorism, the prosecute saved the public from terrorism, the profitable prison industrial complex will make money off her...
It's such a common bias. And we all suffer from it.
I don't judge people based on their race, gender or sexual identity. You on the other hand seem quick to jump to accusing people of racism. You either view the world through a race-based lens or maybe you just play the race card to rack up your (impressive) HN karma.
"She is a good kid," said principal Ron Pritchard. "She has never been in trouble before. Ever."
Seems irrelevant unless it directly relates to the situation (perhaps they yelled at her, then they wrote her up, then they yelled at her parents, then a suspension, then the fifth time she did the same exact harmless thing they called the FBI/CIA/NSA/Blackwater on her)