Supporters rally for teen kicked out of school after she says class project went wrong

BARTOW, Fla. - Dozens of people, young and old, gathered outside the Polk County Courthouse Thursday for one thing; they said they wanted justice. 

Many of them said if Kiera Wilmot is not allowed to go to school, then neither will they.

Kiera Wilmot, 16, an eleventh grade Bartow High School student was arrested on April 22.  Handcuffed at the school and charged with making, possessing or discharging a destructive device and with possessing or discharging a weapon on school property.  Both of those are felony charges.

All this stems from a school project gone wrong, according to Wilmot's attorney, Larry Hardaway. 

"It was an innocent mistake by a young, tender explorer, inquisitive about things that we find in our home," said Hardaway.

Hardaway said Wilmot brought a bottle full of household chemicals to biology class to fulfill a project requirement.  He said before class, Wilmot's peers convinced her to put foil in that bottle and close the top.  That reaction caused the bottle to heat up and the top to blow off.

At this time, Wilmot has only been charged by the Bartow Police Department, according to Hardaway.  He said he is currently working with the State Attorney's office to come to some sort of agreement hoping the felony charges won't be picked up by the state.

"We are trying to work this thing out in the best interest of the child and the community."

State Attorney Jerry Hill met with those at the rally after they staged a silent protest in his office late Thursday morning.  One parent in that meeting said State Attorney Hill told everyone he understands their concern and that at this time, he is working with Wilmot's attorney to come up with a solution.

We reached out to Wilmot and her family, they declined to comment.

We also reached out to the Polk County School District to find out when, or if, Wilmot will be allowed back at school.  ABC Action News is still waiting on their reply.

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