MIAMI – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sent a letter to Dr. John A. Stewart, Interim Superintendent of Polk County Public Schools, calling on him to allow Kiera Wilmot to return to Bartow High School for the remainder of the school year. Kiera is a 16 year-old student who was handcuffed, arrested, expelled from her high school and faced felony charges for performing a science experiment on campus which she had seen on YouTube.
"Kiera's case is part of a dangerous nationwide trend of student behavior being over-criminalized and kids being pushed out of classrooms and into the criminal justice system," stated Joyce Hamilton Henry, Mid-Florida Regional Director for the ACLU of Florida, who attended a press conference with Kiera and her family today. "Kiera is a good student who is interested in science and engineering. One mistake shouldn't mean she's denied the future full of opportunities that she was trying so hard to earn. Schools should help kids learn from their mistakes and become responsible members of their communities—that's what education is all about."