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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When A Science Fair Project Goes 'Really' Bad

It isn't out of the ordinary for a student's science fair project to go awry at some point while a young scientist-in-training tries to perfect his or her project.

What is definitely unusual, unheard of, and definitely out of the ordinary is possibly getting a felony charge when it does.

Kiera Wilmot.  Expelled high school science student.
Enter Kiera Wilmot, a sixteen year-old budding science student with plans to further pursue courses in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM).  While attending Florida's Bartow High School, Wilmot's science project exploded and law enforcement officials were brought into the picture.  While no one was injured, Wilmot was charged with 'detonating a bottle of explosive materials on the school grounds'.

News sources reported that Wilmot was charged with a felony, a charge that could ruin her young career as a student trying to get into college.

Attorney for Wilmot, Larry Hardaway, claims that events surrounding the April 23, 2013 have been incorrectly reported by the media.  

While Wilmot did face a ten-day expulsion, she has not formally been charged with a felony, claims Hardaway.

Whether the state of Florida does, or does not, this event has wreaked havoc on the future of a promising young student, her family, and community.

Said Hardaway, “There is a tremendous need to convey some accuracy (about the story) being passed around the country. The State has not formally or officially filed felony charges."

Hardaway speaks about the case on the Joe Madison Show on Sirius XM radio.

Listen to the entire interview here.

There have been no reports on whether President Obama, who hosted the 2013 White House Science Fair earlier this month, has reached out to Wilmot, or her family.

The president has personally reached out in the past to individuals whose stories have made national headlines, most notably Sandra Fluke, and lately, Jason Collins (scheduled to remark at the 2013 LGBT gala on May 29th).  Those individuals' stories brought attention to the president's positions he publicly stated he supports:  Fluke on women's health issues and health care, and Collins on the issue of homosexuality and the LGBT communities.

The president did not, however, address the (still pending case of) Trayvon Martin or the Hadiya Pendleton tragedies, initially, until public opinion forced his hand.  (First Lady Michelle Obama attended and spoke at Pendleton's memorial service).  Additionally, it has not been reported whether the president called Washington Capitals hockey player, Joel Ward, after he was forced last year into the public spot light by a nation.

The president's stance on gun violence finally made national headlines after the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings when more than twenty young students were gunned down during a school day.

It will be interesting to see what position the president takes on the Wilmot case in light of the fact that he is supportive of, and a proponent of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses for young students.

"Of course, primarily we’re here to celebrate these young scientists and visionaries who dream, and create, and innovate; who ask the question, why not?  Why not try something better?  Something that’s faster; something that helps more people.  And that drive, that refusal to give up, that focus on the future is part of what makes America great.  And all of you are participants in this long line of inventors and creators that have made this the most dynamic economy and the most dynamic country on Earth....And that’s one of the things that I’ve been focused on as President is how do we create an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math." 
 - President Barack Obama, 2013 White House Science

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