Girls in Science? Only if You Want to Be a "Criminal"

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Girls in Science? Only if You Want to Be a "Criminal"

Remember in 2005 when then Harvard President Larry Summers stuck his foot in his mouth about women not being "innately" talented enough to pursue—that we just don't have the "aptitude" for pursuing—careers in science?

Remember that since the hullaballo surrounding this statement there's been a push to increase the number of women in scientific fields?

Well, put that thing down, flip it and reverse it, Missy.

A 16 year old Florida teen (of course, Florida)—make that, a black female 16 year old teen—was in school (and, nota bene, not science class) one day conducting an know, those methodical practices that curious minds undertake to make scientific breakthroughs in the hope of advancing capital K Knowledge?

Well, silly girl. She should've known to have tamed that inquisitive mind of hers.

Now she's in juvenile detention.

Kiera Wilmot, according to Gawker, mixed household chemicals on school grounds in order to see what would happen when such chemicals were mixed—you know, because oftentimes our cabinets are filled with a medley of cleaning agents that can and probably do become mixed when we're cleaning our homes. 

The ingredients had a "negative reaction" and smoke billowed from the bottle in which Wilmot mixed the chemicals. She was arrested and charged with "possession/discharge of a weapon" and "discharging a destructive device." She is, in other words, charged with adult felony crimes.

Wilmot, an upstanding student, was actually defended by the school principal, who noted that the experiment was done out of curiosity.

But, as Audre Lorde, among so many other POC feminists, told us so many years ago, a young black girl with a mind about her is a dangerous thing. Duh.

She will now have to complete her high school degree through an "expulsion program."

I call shenanigans...motherfucking racist, sexist shenanigans.


Comments [4]

Not2Taem's picture

This suck, but...

This is an excerpt from the code of conduct for a local high school in Texas, where students and parents also sign a Science Lab Contract every year starting in elementary school. The contracts vary by grade level, but all state that students will conduct investigations only in designated areas and under the supervision of a designated adult. We discuss the term chemical with our first graders, admittedly at that age mostly in terms of not putting them in your mouth. Third graders use vinegar to learn about acids and discuss household products and the need to touch them only under the supervision of an adult. When they do their 3rd grade science projects, the information/safety agreement states that they need to clear any chemicals with a teacher before bringing them onto campus. 

While the information on the video certainly doesn't sound like Kiera intended harm, she probably should have known that harm was possible.


1. In accordance with Texas Education Code Section 37.007, a student SHALL BE expelled from school if the student, on school property, on school property of another district, at any district facility, at any school- sponsored or school-related activity on or off of school property, or on a school bus:



uses, exhibits, or possesses:

.    (1)  a firearm (In accordance with federal law, a student who brings a firearm (as 
defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 921) to school SHALL BE expelled from the student’s regular campus for a period of at least one calendar year.);

.    (2)  an illegal knife:
a. a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
b. a hand instrument designed to cut or stab by being thrown;
c. a dagger, including a dirk, stiletto, or poniard;
d. a Bowie knife, sword, or spear;
e. a crossbow, bow and arrow, blowgun, Chinese Star, or ice pick;
f. a razor carried, designed, made or adapted for use as a weapon. g. a lock-blade knife or fixed blade knife carried for use as a weapon.

.    (3)  a club - an instrument designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument, such as a blackjack, nightstick, mace, numchucks, or a tomahawk;

.    (4)  a prohibited weapon:
a. an explosive weapon;
b. a machine-gun;
c. a short-barrel firearm;
d. a firearm silencer;
e. a switchblade knife to include a butterfly knife; f. knuckles; 
g. armor-piercing ammunition; h. a chemical dispensing device 

Chemical Dispensing Device

“Chemical dispensing device” means a device other than a small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of dispensing a substance capable of causing an adverse psychological or physiological effect on a human being.

It would be nice if we lived in a common sense world where a principal had a say in an incident like this. Since it set up enough smoke for police to respond, it was out of his hands. Then there is the fact that these codes were written to ensure that all students are disciplined equally, and to discourage some redneck jerk from picking on the minorities and letting the sons of the good ol' boys slide. I feel for Kiera and hope that she is able to get an exemption of some sort, but I don't think we can necessarily assume this is a case of racism or sexism.


Marcie Bianco's picture

Contact Info

From a wordpress site reporting on this issue:


For folks wishing to make some noise around this..Here are some addresses and phone numbers

Bartow High School Principal Ronald Pritchard / Address: 1270 S Broadway Ave Bartow, FL 33830 / EMAIL: PHONE:(863)- 534-7400 Fax: (863)534-0077

Polk County Superintendent: Dr. John Stewart /Address: 1915 South Floral Avenue, Bartow, FL 33831 Phone: (863) 534-0521 Fax: (863) 519-8231 Email: Dr. John Stewart

Polk Regional Juvenile Detention Ctr

ADDRESS: 2155 Bob Phillips Road, Bartow, FL 33830

TEL: 863-534-7090
FAX: 863-534-7024

Marcie Bianco's picture

I am so pissed off about

I am so pissed off about this. Maybe she just should've played with a gun, ya know, that would've been FINE accordingly to Florida standards (cough-George Zimmerman-cough). I want to figure out how to help this young girl return to school.

Grace Moon's picture

this is so F******k'd

this is so F******k'd

tweet tweet @gracemoon