“On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16-year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small eight-ounce water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida,” reports the Miami New Times.
The result? Apparently a small pop and a bit of smoke. But Bartow High School authorities decided that the “experiment” was grounds for Wilmot’s arrest, and her expulsion from the school.
Wilmot had no record of being reckless; according to the Miami New Times, she had above average grades and no track history of misbehavior.
A police report states that Wilmot “brought from home a water bottle, ‘The Works’ toilet bowl cleaner, and pieces of aluminum foil ... she thought it would just cause some smoke.” In no way, Wilmot explained, did she intend any harm or disruption.
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Leah Lauderdale of the Polk County School District told the Miami New Times that Wilmot’s experiment "violates Section 7.05 of the school's conduct code, which mandates expulsion for any ‘student in possession of a bomb (or) explosive device... while at a school (or) a school-sponsored activity... unless the material or device is being used as part of a legitimate school-related activity or science project conducted under the supervision of an instructor.’”
As no professors knew of Wilmot’s ‘experiment,’ it was considered a threat. She has been charged with “possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds,” as well as with “discharging a destructive device.” Both of these charges, explains the Huffington Post, are felonies.
"She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone," says Bartow Principal Ron Pritchard. "She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too."