"Homer Hickam, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie October Sky, has joined the ranks of scientists and engineers around the globe in support of Kiera Wilmot - the 16-year-old Florida student who found herself in hot water after her science experiment went awry. Wilmot, who has an outstanding school record and whose mother works in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field, was expelled from school permanently and arrested by police after her science experiment caused a small explosion. Although not authorized by her teacher, no one was hurt in the incident and no damage was caused. Kiera was also charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device: both felonies."
"The website Southern Fried Science took a turn away from discussions on conservation and endangered species to weigh in on Kiera's case, asking scientists how many "accidentally blew something up in high school doing science?" Many responded by describing their adolescent capers."
Keith's note: If this over reactive mindset was in place in the early 1980s, then a dozen or so of the Chemistry students I taught while in grad school would have been felons - every semester.
Kiera Wilmot, student who caused small explosion, won't face charges, Orlando Sentinel
"Brian Haas, an assistant state attorney and spokesman for the office, said he could not provide details of the diversion-program agreement reached in a juvenile's case. But he said the teenager and her guardian had signed the agreement. "The pending case has been dismissed. No formal charges will be filed," read the office's statement."