Online posters protest science project suspension

May 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM

BARTOW, Fla., May 14 (UPI) -- The arrest and suspension of a 16-year-old Florida girl whose science experiment exploded has resulted in an online campaign demanding "justice."

Kiera Wilmot was arrested April 22 at Bartow High School in Bartow. She was suspended for 10 days and told she faced expulsion under the school's "zero tolerance" policy after she mixed toilet bowl cleanser and pieces of aluminum foil in a water bottle and the concoction exploded, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday.

There were no injuries or property damage from the explosion.

Wilmot said she was testing out a potential science fair project. However, her science teacher said the device was not part of any assigned project and police recommended the State Attorney's Office pursue felony charges of possessing/discharging weapons on school grounds and making, possessing, discharging destructive device.

The case attracted many online followers, with a "justice for Kiera" petition gaining 193,000 signatures and becoming a viral hashtag on Twitter. Supporters are calling for all charges to be dropped and for Wilmot to be reinstated at school.

Wilmot's attorney, Larry Hardaway, said the case is expected to be resolved this week without felony charges. The attorney said the student, who has been attending an alternative school, will likely return to Bartow High next year.

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