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View Diary: Cleared of charges after explosion, Florida teen gets full scholarship to space academy (312 comments)

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  •  I agree with you. Unfortunately. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Lowgun, Rick Aucoin

    However scientifically or otherwise intended, the young woman created, and set off, a bomb.  I'm skeptical that she was uninformed about what would happen when she combined aluminum and Drano, but choosing to experiment on school property (where she, likewise, must have known that the school had a zero tolerance policy for incendiary devices) was a very bad decision.

    So I agree that suspension is the proper consequence.

    That said, and as Homer Hickam illustrates, an interest in explosives is not in itself bad, and doesn't make those with the interest terrorists.  She has a brilliant future as a chemist, if she pursues it.

    •  Sensible. She knew exactly what would happen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick Aucoin, Nance

      Google "Toilet Bowl Cleaner" and "aluminum foil."  A few tens of thousands of hits will assure you of that.

      As far as her having "a brilliant future as a chemist, if she pursues it" again I have no idea what her talents are like.  Is she highly motivated in school?  Does she do well in math classes?  If not, chemistry is probably not a career path.

      Just because you can set off a Drano bomb or get a Diet Coke with Mentos concoction to erupt like thousands of goofy folks on YouTube does not put you on the path to a Nobel Prize.  

      The girl got a raw deal when she was arrested.  I'm glad the charge was tossed out.  But to act as if she is the next Marie Curie because of her stunt is a little silly.

      •  Clearly she should have (5+ / 0-)

        just stayed at home and played video games. You don't get into any trouble that way!

        Get old and do lots of stuff in the process. Half of the fun is trying everything out. --Noddy

        by Debby on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:51:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now that was useful (0+ / 0-)

          Do you have an actual comment to make that comes anywhere near to being a response to what I wrote?

          •  KIera is an honor student. And has never been (8+ / 0-)

            in trouble in school before.  Various articles have mentioned that much.

            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

            by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:43:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Kiera apparently did not google it. According (11+ / 0-)

            to what I've read, she believed that the combination of drano and aluminum foil would produce smoke.  

            She was supposed to come up with an idea for an experiment for a science class.  A friend told her about this combination, and suggested she use that.  (We don't know if he'd ever tried it himself or was passing on what he'd heard somewhere.)  She brought small amounts of the materials to school planning to talk to the teacher.  Her friend encouraged her to try it and see if it worked, and she decided to do so, at the back of the school property, before school.  That was bad judgement, but no worse than many good kids have shown.  When she combined her materials in a small (8 oz) water bottle, gas built up inside it and blew the top off with a loud pop.  And some smoke came out.  She was shocked, she said, at the noise.  So, clearly, were some other people.

            That's it.  That's the crime.

            I sympathize with some of the points you've made, particularly about zero tolerance policies in general.  But your seeming determination to see Kiera in the worst light, without bothering to read much or maybe anything about the case, comes across as really excessive. It seems pointless in a diary celebrating a happy ending to a situation that bothered the hell out of many of us, including me.  Do you know what expulsion and a felony conviction would do to a teenager's chances of getting into college?  How it would affect her every time she applied for a job?  How badly young people are affected by jail time, which she might well have been sentenced to?  Polk County overreacted, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people called, tweeted, FaceBooked, emailed, and generally raised some ruckus, and they backed off.  Maybe they'll be more wary in the future of being irrationally punitive in the name of zero tolerance when no harm was intended and no harm was done. That's a good thing.  Why not just let it be.

            --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

            by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:18:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The part of the story we don't know (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, aitchdee

              is which a*hole on the school staff saw that experiment, freaked out, and raised holy hell.

              I hope that person is looking for a new job, but more likely it's one of the disciplinarian types who evidently run the place.

            •  "No harm was done" isn't a valid argument... (0+ / 0-)

              I mean, a kid could bring all sorts of things from home, mix them up at school--just to see what happens, mind you--and "no harm no foul" should NOT be a guiding principle.

              This is not idle speculation - hit Google with "portland freshman ammonia bleach school" and read about January's events at Skyview High.

              So, we have two cases in which students brought potentially dangerous materials from home and conducted unauthorized, unsupervised "experiments" at school with no safety measures in place.  Is your deciding factor REALLY going to be "no harm no foul"?

              Furthermore--and this may be the key question--do you think that school administrators should try to DETER such things from taking place, instead of reacting after the fact on a case-by-case basis?  

              The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

              by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:31:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Deter? By charging a 16 year old with two (0+ / 0-)

                felonies and declaring she should be tried as an adult?  By proposing life-changing penalties for an honor student who'd never been in trouble before?  

                THis case has "over-reaction" written all over it.  If you can't see the administrators were unbalanced in their response, we just don't see eye to eye and that's the way it is.

                --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

                by Fiona West on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:58:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Is it necessary for you to know (6+ / 0-)

        what her 'talents' are like to understand that the girl was gifted a scholarship?  

        And why are you assuming that she can't be the next Marie Curie?  WTH is wrong with you?  Really?

        Why is your mind so narrow?

      •  One report I read (0+ / 0-)

        said she isn't all that interested in science, really. That she is more artistic than anything else. I'm trying to remember where I saw that. Anyway, all kids who die in car crashes or get hammered unjustly by the school system are automatically exalted. Didn't you get the memo?

        •  I just read an (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, aitchdee

          article posted yesterday that she has an interest in robotics and she likes playing her cello with her twin sister.  

          •  Ah, maybe that's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            where the "artistic" line started.

            •  Hey... some of best scientists (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Square Knot, elfling, kyril, aitchdee

              play a mean instrument.  Astronaut Ron McNair played a mean sax and was a PHd in Physics all at once.  R.I.P.

              •  Here's one article -- (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chimene

                http://www.orlandosentinel.com/...

                that talks about her being in the orchestra and having other artistic interests.

                But there's no mention of being interested in science. Not beyond "rigorous academic programs" her Mom references.

                But she's a girl and she blew something up and the school and everyone involved overreacted and so, tada!, she must be a girl interested in science who is getting held back by the man.

                But she'll get a nice summer camp experience out of it, which may or may not be of any deep interest to her but can be enjoyable either way.

                •  Now that I study this (0+ / 0-)

                  article some more, I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to urge some musicians to help this girl and her sister out. Surely there's some nice summer camp for young orchestra members that they'd actually enjoy.

                  •  nance: you're assuming she won't (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    andalusi, chimene, kyril, aitchdee

                    enjoy space camp. I sense that you haven't seen Commander Hadfield's music video ...

                    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                    by BlackSheep1 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 01:28:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Was he the one singing in space (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BlackSheep1

                      just recently? Yes, that was fun.

                      My point is that I don't know if this girl and/or her sister have any interest in science. Other than the classes all the students take, I haven't seen anything from her or her Mom saying she was really gung-ho about it.

                      Her Mom does say this, though: "Kiera, a good student who writes music and loves to "draw, color and create," didn't want to hurt anyone or anything, her mother added."

                      And the article says: "Kiera, who played cello in Bartow's orchestra, was suspended for 10 days and now is at a county alternative school. Kiera and her twin sister, Kayla, are upset they are at separate schools, and Kiera is sad that she cannot perform in the orchestra's spring concert nor attend the group's annual banquet."

                      She sounds like an artsy band kid to me. But I wouldn't want to pigeonhole her.

                      She may enjoy space camp. Heck, I would probably enjoy space camp. But neither that nor the original incident tells us anything about her actual interests.

                      •  Wait ... she's a high school student, right? (0+ / 0-)

                        "likes to draw and color"????

                        What do Florida schools teach, in art classes in high school??????
                        Clearly they don't teach science in their classes, if the foil-and-drano reaction remains a mystery to high-school kids.

                        LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                        by BlackSheep1 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:29:53 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'd be surprised (0+ / 0-)

                          if they had art classes in school here. Gotta cut those property taxes, y'all!

                          A lot of things are a mystery to some high school kids.

                          But I don't get your point. Is it only cool to support this girl if she is into science?

                          •  No. It's (0+ / 0-)

                            extremely disappointing to hear "likes to draw and color" about an art-oriented student in high school.

                            Or, in plainer terms, it sucks that she doesn't have access to better instruction and equipment.

                            LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                            by BlackSheep1 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 03:11:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, it does suck. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackSheep1

                            I wonder if anyone would like to send her to art camp?

                          •  Occurs to me that the public schools' decimation (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            a2nite

                            of most subjects in order to meet the test creates a lot of for-profit opportunitie$ for "charter $chool$" and "$pecialty camp$".

                            Is that the idea? If so, it's a bad one IMNVHO.

                            LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                            by BlackSheep1 on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:32:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, they are (0+ / 0-)

                            pretty rigidly opposed to anything involving taxes that might help actual people down here in the Sunshine State. Combine that with Skelator as a Governor and. . .

                      •  Girls need encouragement in science (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Gator Keyfitz, kyril, aitchdee, a2nite

                        Kiera may be favoring her "artistic" side in HS, but she's on the honor roll and interested enough in a project to have figured out the Drano experiment. This space camp may help push her science talents into the forefront. Carping that she is not a science prodigy already discriminates against women.

                        Personally, I felt pulls in both directions before I went to MIT and eventually got a science PhD.

                        Conservation is green energy

                        by peggy on Thu May 23, 2013 at 02:45:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, I'm not discriminating (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Be Skeptical

                          against women. Insisting that she is into science when there is no evidence to support that. . . I don't know what to call that.

                          I'm glad you got your PhD. Maybe this girl will too. Who knows?

                          But we can't project our own stories onto this young person's life. I think it would be nicer to pay attention to what she -- or at least her Mom -- says about her interests and help her along that path.

                          Or both.

                          But she's not, as far as we know, asking to be the poster child for Women in Science.

    •  She mixed Drano and aluminum foil (17+ / 0-)

      in a water bottle, a "bomb" which popped the top off the water bottle and produced smoke, according to the school principal.
      Sheesh.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Thu May 23, 2013 at 08:36:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ffffffff...... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfe, chimene

        It CAN'T produce smoke. A Drano bomb is essentially a steam bomb -- the container is ruptured by steam pressure, the steam generated by the reaction. Idiots.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:51:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  People who saw what happened called it smoke. (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe it was steam.

          --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

          by Fiona West on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:27:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely! Every teenager (26+ / 0-)

      should stop and think through the ramifications of an action when they're enthusiastic and excited about exploring something new. Totally!!!

    •  Homer's action (13+ / 0-)

      will help steer her in a positive direction if she did indeed simply make a bad decision. I wish more kids who made mistakes or ill-informed decisions were taken in by mentors or given better choices or opportunities to learn how to use their energy for the greater good. Simply kicking kids out of school or treating them like criminals doesn't improve the kids or society one bit.

      I heartily approved of Homer's actions regardless of why this young women created an explosion on school grounds.

      •  She would have been known as the (7+ / 0-)

        science experiment gone wrong teen.

        Now she'll be known as the Space Academy teen.

        At the very least that stigma may be diluted. Maybe it changes her life.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Thu May 23, 2013 at 10:18:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Look. (13+ / 0-)

        She DID make a bad decision.  There is no question about it.  She said as much.  She said a' lessons learned' for her already is not to give into peer pressure as other students egged her on to do the experiment ahead of clearing it with her science teacher.  The science teacher said as much.  

        I just don't get the comments of a few on here (not you) that is jumping to this conclusion that this girl is some bad seed who made off with the loot and gotten over on folk.  It's almost as if some are expecting another shoe to drop and those sentiments are very infuriating to me because I sense the basis behind it.

        •  I sense the basis behind it too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peggy, kyril

          You're not alone, smoothn. It's sad to see. It shouldn't get a pass, but then I guess there's no proving it, and to properly call it out, it would have to be proved.

          Leaves a terrible taste in one's mouth, though, doesn't it?

          Hmm. I've encountered folks on this blog whose opinion I didn't much care for. Indeed there are people here whom I don't much like. But before today, before this thread, I did not have a personal shit list, per se. :/

          God bless our tinfoil hearts.

          by aitchdee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:03:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So you are assuming (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, aitchdee, Gator Keyfitz

      that she's a liar now?  Why would that be praytell?

      •  Google "aluminum" & "Drano" or (0+ / 0-)

        "Aluminum foil" & "Toilet bowel cleaner".

        Now, do you really, truly, seriously, honestly believe she didn't know what would happen? Really?

        ok....................

        •  Why are you assuming that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gator Keyfitz

          she didn't already know?  You see, the problem here is that you didn't fffing read the story, so you don't fffing know the facts, so you are just assuming these things.

          Get the facts.  Read the story and you would then realize that half of the comments you wrote were unnecessary.

        •  She was curious to see for herself, I bet (6+ / 0-)

          Sounds like a fine attribute in a budding young scientist. Sounds like a necessary personality trait: curiosity. Sense of wonder.

          You, on the other hand, are an unintelligent, nasty person with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Your sour, cynical, begrudging attitude at the news of a happy ending in this episode of a smart, young black student in big trouble - sure says a lot about you. That you cannot evince a moment's happiness for her good fortune is disgusting. Today, you are my personal Worst Person in the World; or on the blog, anyway.

          Jerk.

          God bless our tinfoil hearts.

          by aitchdee on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:16:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes you have to see it (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, smoothnmellow, chimene, kyril

          for yourself -- how do you know those videos aren't faked?

          She had a general hypothesis, determined by what she read -- but a hypothesis needs to be tested. Or do you just take what you hear from people or read on the Internet as the gospel truth?

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:30:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, hey, we'll sure save a lot on equipment, (0+ / 0-)

            if we just have our high school students watch other people doing experiments in youtube videos.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:17:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but 'hypothesis' and 'test'... (0+ / 0-)

            ...imply a controlled scientific experiment with the attendant collection and analysis of data.

            This was "I brought stuff from home, let's mix it in a bottle."

            I'm all for curiosity, but what she did could easily have been done at home - why bring it to school?

            For what it's worth, I still have (small) scars from chemical burns I suffered in incidents remarkably similar to the matter at hand.  I'm not unsympathetic to the 'experimentation' - but it does bother me that everyone here seems to have turned a blind eye to the potential risk to other students.  (If you want to argue 'no possible risk', I think my aforementioned chemical burn scars are a reasonable counterargument.)

            Let her serve a suspension and return to her high school - but we have to have some rules/enforcement/deterrence around such things in order to limit/minimize risk to other students.   The primary target of our criticism should be the police & DA who decided upon arrest and felony charges.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:01:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  "incendiary"? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene, Gator Keyfitz, aitchdee

      suggest you look it up.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu May 23, 2013 at 01:53:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not really a bomb (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, aitchdee, LSophia

      if you define a bomb as something likely to cause bodily injury or property damage.

      It mostly makes a loud pop, when the soft plastic bottle bursts.

      If my daughter wanted to try this, she'd do it in our back field. No one would be upset. I'm guessing that the largest open space in Kiera's neighborhood is in fact at her school. A small, inobvious bit of privilege.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu May 23, 2013 at 05:37:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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