Zero Tolerance

Charges Dropped Against Kiera Wilmot

An infamous zero-tolerance case has a happy ending.


Good news in the case of Kiera Wilmot, the Florida teen who was expelled and charged with two felonies after conducting an unauthorized but harmless science experiment on the grounds of her school: The authorities have dropped the charges against her. Meanwhile, Boing Boing reports that

Take that, Forces Of Evil.

Homer Hickam—the writer and former NASA engineer whose memoir is the basis of the movie October Sky—started a Crowdtilt campaign to send Wilmot and her twin sister Kayla to the Advanced Space Academy program at the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. The cost of space camp can run upwards of $1200. Hickam paid for Kiera Wilmot to go and the Crowdtilt campaign raised the other $1200 for her sister, plus extra money for their travel expenses. The campaign hit its $2500 goal in just two days and is now up to $2920. Hickam says the extra money is going to the girls' mother.

The school that expelled Wilmot has not yet said whether it will let her back, and a second Crowdtilt campaign, which raised $8,000 for a defense fund, is going to apply the remaining money to Wilmot's education. The case reportedly drained the family's finances, so the Internet's assistance is especially welcome.

NEXT: Uzbekistani Man in Idaho Arrested for Allegedly Funding Attempted Terrorist Attack in Uzbekistan

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Why don’t they use the extra money to have a couple of guys named Vinnie and Louie stop by the school and help persuade the appropriate school official to reconsider his position on the entire thing, and let Wilmot back in school?

    1. I’d give $10 to that fund.

    2. How about Vincent and Jules?

      1. A corpse and a penitent, that won’t help.

  2. The feds lost two terrorists in the witness protection program and now Florida has let this murderous monster slip through its fingers. Terror is winning.

  3. That’s funny, because in the first thread on this, I mentioned Hickam’s childhood rocket exploits as a reason why some explosions could be a good thing.

  4. Oh thank god. The system kind of works… for now. (Where “the system” is public shaming of officials who make stupid decisions.)

    1. It sure helps when people watch what the government does and assert themselves. Too bad this doesn’t happen more at the federal level.

    2. It’s kind of sad that rude people making death threats to these people is the only thing that works.

      That’s not to say that I advocate death threats, but you always hear of that on the fringes. When a public official gets in the news, in these here days of internets you know their personal information gets out somewhere, and if the event really gets people’s blood up, you know there are some ugly people who do exactly that.

      And as much as I hate to say it, that may get more action out of public servants than playing nice or following procedure.

      1. I’d not be surprised if those “death threats” were completely made up to gain sympathy.

        Why else would you tell the world you’ve received death threats?

        1. Because you don’t want to die?

        2. It seems likely that many of the alleged death threats resulting from these incidents are fabricated (ie, lied about), or manufactured by those sympathetic to the idiots.

          PL, I can’t see how telling everyone you’ve received death threats does anything to stop anyone from actually carrying those out. It’s all about victimhood. The only result will be more tax dollars wasted to protect these idiots.

          1. I hear you, but put yourself in the position of someone actually receiving them. If you’re not intentionally in the limelight, that’s got to be pretty harrowing. I don’t think you just sit around and don’t mention it to anyone.

          2. Not to go all statist, but you mention it to the police, and to your employer (particularly in this case). Calling the press only invites the attention of other hostile parties.

        3. I’d not be surprised if those “death threats” were completely made up to gain sympathy.

          I believe it serves both purposes.

          I’ve never received death threats (on a large scale) so I don’t know, but I’d imagine it’d be pretty unsettling.

          However, you also scream it outload to say, “See? See how crazy these people are?”

    3. No, Sum Gai, the system still doesn’t work. If it truly worked she would have been told to ask permission in the future and required to wash some labware or something.

      What has happened is that the public has done an end-run around the stupidity of the school employees by publicly praising and monetarily rewarding the poor girl. But the public still has to pay taxes to reward the stupidity of the school employees and to defend them against the inevitable lawsuit.

      The public also loses in the long-term when stupidity is rewarded and competence and innovation are stifled.

      1. Oops, just RTFA in the Orlando Sentinel website. Had previously thought she hadn’t caused an explosion, or that it had been a non-combustion type deal. Yeah, she deserved some serious detention at a minimum. And while I’m not sure felony charges were justified, some sort of low-level misdemeanor charges (hopefully with a single day comm service sentence) aren’t unreasonable.

        And as much as it pains me to say this, Tulpa was actually kinda right about this.

        Now I’ve got to go rinse the puke out of my mouth.

        1. If it helps with the esophogeal irrigation, I don’t see any need for criminal charges since she wasn’t intending to cause harm, and there’s no indication she even understood that what she was doing was dangerous so reckless endangerment doesn’t apply either.

          And maybe you should look into separating the argument from the arguer to improve your gastric health?

          1. I’m thinking of one of the many BS misdeameanors such as noise ordinance violation, or disturbing the peace or something. Basically, a judge gives her a stern talking-to and she has a no-fun day picking up trash to reflect on judgement issues.

            And it’s a whole other can of worms about whether these laws should be on the books or if they serve a useful purpose.

        2. I’m not sure anyone said she shouldn’t have been punished at all. It was the total freakout followed by felony charges.

  5. Wait…wait…wait….She has a twin sister?

    I think we should reconsider this. This is how the Eugenics Wars started in the 90s.

    1. She’s not Mexican-Sikh, so I think it’s okay.

      1. I still think we need to find out how she feels about giving the world ORDER (and rich Corinthian leather).

        1. It’s “soft Corinthian leather.” Everyone–including me–gets that wrong. Which is why Khan conquered much of Asia.

          1. No saddle sores?

  6. Chalk one more for the cause of freedom. Private people with their own money help a brilliant (and cute) young woman to fight the forces of (PC) evil.

    1. And the fact that it was a female instead of a male probably also helps her. Yup, cute as a button, though.

  7. Fucking A! Sometimes people don’t all suck. It’s nice to see that not everyone is driven to be a complete fuckwad douchebag.

  8. an unauthorized but harmless science experiment on the grounds of her school

    Kind of euphemistic isn’t it? You don’t mention that this “unauthorized harmless experiment” resulted in an explosion which COULD HAVE harmed someone. Didn’t, but that’s because of luck. It’s totally legit for the school to discipline her for doing that.

    The expulsion and prosecution is waaaaaay overboard of course, but I’m sick of you guys leaving out important details from these stories to make your position look better.

    1. So now your quibbling with harmless because even if this was harmless, something similar might have hurt someone? Really?

      Does anyone know if this is the real Tulpa or another impersonator?

      1. Does anyone know if this is the real Tulpa or another impersonator?

        Poe’s law states that a sufficiently good parody is indistinguishable from the thing being parodied. When the thing is a self-parody it becomes even more recursively lultastic.

      2. Being harmless requires more than just not causing harm in a particular incident.

        I do agree of course that the discipline should have been more like an hour of detention or something small like that, because she didn’t MEAN to harm anyone. Expulsion, let alone prosecution, is a ridiculous overreaction by CYA-tards who are just worried about what happens if there is a real malicious explosion in the school in the future and someone notes that they let this girl get away with causing explosions.

    2. We don’t exist in a “thought crime world” (yet), so she should only be punished for the harm she caused, which was none. If her intent was to terrorize, then separate charges or punishments can be constructed, but the “what-ifs” are pointless since they didn’t happen.

    3. “You don’t mention that this “unauthorized harmless experiment” resulted in an explosion which COULD HAVE harmed someone.”

      I know you arent going to understand why I am saying this, but fuck you Tulpa.

      I am with mnarayan on this. Tulpa never seemed this stupid before did he? I mean, he always was a bit of a stickler for rules and order, but that is the mathmatician in him. This ‘unauthorized behavior’ is full blown hall monitor/petty tyrant crap. It must be that a troll has stolen his name.

    4. You don’t mention that this “unauthorized harmless experiment” resulted in an explosion which COULD HAVE harmed someone.

      I mentioned the explosion in the original blog post that drew attention to the case. I gave the shorter (and perfectly accurate) summary in this follow-up. (Which, of course, linked back to the first post with the details.)

  9. Is there some way to give her money without signing up for a crowdtilt account? Jesus.. why does everyone want me to create an account and think-up yet another password?

  10. This is awesome news!

    Totally donating some money to this girls college fund. I strongly believe in blowing shit up for science.

  11. It’s nice to see people donating of their own free will for something they believe in, since we are constantly told that science would NEVER be funded if not for federal grants.

  12. Actually, getting this obviously bright young woman out of that shit school might be one of the best things that ever happens to her.

  13. coercive state bodies want to lock her up and / or keep her away from other children.

    individuals voluntarily acting together decide to help her get to space camp.

    as if i didnt need one more example to illustrate which form of social interaction i prefer…

  14. We really need some way to exert some zero tolerance pain on teachers, school administrators and school board members. They do this because they consider themselves part of the protected class that would never be subject to the same scrutiny. Bastards.

  15. I can’t believe that this went so far but am relieved to see that someone applied some Practical Wisdom.

  16. I’m glad to see that enough public pressure could be applied to this case to make the authorities back off. That rarely happens. If this didn’t play out like I predicted in my original post, it should not be lost on us that this still drained their personal finances and was a “nightmare” for the family. That’s an aspect of these cases that few of us can really appreciate.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.