Last may a student at Bartow High School in Florida made a mistake. She was making a volcano for her science class. Kids being kids, she was pressured into showing others on the playground how it works. The method for this experiment was to mix toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil together for the reaction. This was a suggestion from a friend. Now, true this could create the volcano effect she was looking for however what she didn’t know at the time is it also a bomb recipe. Called “The Works Bomb” taking these items together in a closed bottle can cause an explosion.
According to her blog post, after mixing the items together in the bottle the cap popped off and smoke poured out. Nobody was hurt as a result from the accident.
The school listed this event under the “zero-tolerance” policy against explosives. Police were called and she was arrested and charged with two felonies (that have since been dropped.) Now, I agree that bombs are a bad thing and there should be a policy against them, anywhere! This should have been a case of a student learning a lesson. She was a model student with no history of problems. There was no thought of doing harm or damage to anybody. This could have been handled with a sit down discussion with the science teacher and the students. (It was the teacher that told her to find something else besides baking soda and vinegar because it was so 5th grade.) Did he “educate” her on alternatives? Was there any warnings for the experiment of substances that should not be used due to potential hazards? I doubt it.
She is set to graduate soon and moving on to Florida Polytechnic University in the fall. I am sure she will go on to do great things. However now, due to a case of the ZT’s (zero-tolerance) she will have the felonies on her record for up to 5 years. Why should such a simple mistake potentially harm her future? I thought schools were there to educate. Another example why we need to put the control back into our teachers and principals to discipline students on a case to case basis. There is no one size fits all education system (not yet anyways) and there shouldn’t be one for disciplinary actions.