back to article Thousands rally behind teen girl cuffed, expelled in harmless 'explosion'

Controversial decisions by officials in Florida to arrest, charge and expel from school a teenage girl (and model student) for causing a totally harmless "explosion" by mixing household products in a plastic bottle are attracting widespread condemnation. Kiera Wilmot, 16, a student at Bartow High School in Florida, is no …


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  1. GBL Initialiser

    For some reason this reminded me of the episode of The Sinpsons that featured the "Independent thought alarm". The child's thought that is. The prosecutors and the assistant principal sure as hell set off the "incapable of rational thought alarm" though.

    1. GBL Initialiser


      Gah, in this world of mobile phone keyboards I need a damn edit button.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The American Bar Association

      Has better comments on this story:

    3. asdf


      Her mistake was not to be carrying a gun instead and then Florida would be giving her a medal.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: yeah

        "Her mistake was....." Her mistake was doing the "experiment" on school property. For a supposed straight A student that was just plain stupid. I did much worse in my day, but I was always careful to do so far from the eyes of adults, and very far from school authorities.

      2. Charles Manning

        Her other mistake....

        was being a model student.

        The system seems to bend over backwards to make life easy for problem students (aka disadvantaged/troubled/whatever).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "As a teenager he personally created and let off many "destructive devices" of much greater power than Ms Wilmot's."

    They are coming for you Lewis.

    If it helps, theres an arrow buried 6" into an oak tree in my old back garden caused by similar experiments with plumbing supplies and Silverkrin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OOPS!

      I was never really into explosions - but I did once set fire to the inside of a hollow tree "to see what would happen", the answer as it turns out was a jet engine type roar and eight foot flames coming from the top of the tree

      1. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

        Re: OOPS!

        "the answer as it turns out was a jet engine type roar and eight foot flames coming from the top of the tree"

        I would have bought tickets for that

        1. Ted Treen

          Re: OOPS!

          Yup! My favourite was screwed-up newspaper (yes I know they're all screwed up these days) shoved into the bottom of a cast-iron drainpipe and set alight.

          The organ-pipe type deep roar & resonance had to be experienced to be believed.

      2. h3

        Re: OOPS!

        I wasn't that into it either. I did my chemistry week experiment as making an improvised explosive device though.

        (Trying to make it as cheap as possible but still fairly safe.)

        First time in school that they would give you whatever you wanted. I made quite a big crater in the girls hockey pitch. Barium Peroxide was the only chemical I ever noticed the teachers taking extreme care with so I thought I would use that as a detonator.

        My grandfather as a child used to make fireworks by buying what was needed from the chemist. (You could just buy concentrated nitric acid / test tubes everything you needed just from the chemist. Even if you were a very young child).

        Now it is getting I think to the point where you cannot do anything.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @h3 ... Re: OOPS!

          Yup, you pretty much proved my point.

          When my father was a kid. The pharmacist had everything. That was pretty much the same up into the 50's and 60's.

          When I was a kid, you could get certain things via mail order. But some of the stuff was controlled, but it was still possible.

          Today? Not so much.

          Heck 10-15 years ago, you could get Ammonium Nitrate fertilizers and of course diesel fuel. Today? LOL... try it and the feds will come a-knocking.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: @h3 ... OOPS!

            Ian Michael Gumby (damnit),

            She probably should get a stern talking to tempered with a lecture on discussing experiments with a science teacher before trying them out. Especially anything picked up from the internet. The harshest penalty should be a detention. Calling in the cops is way out of proportion.

            The experiment she did was not an explosive. It was a reaction that produced gas that could cause the bottle to rupture. Most plastic pop bottles are designed to blow their cap off before the bottle ruptures, but it's usually a close thing and not a universal design goal. There is also no "smoke" as there is not combustion. It's vapor from the toilet bowl cleaner, the chlorine gas and water vapor from the rapid change in pressure.

            Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is no problem to get and diesel fuel is sold on a plethora of street corners around the world. The feds will come knocking if you order the fertilizer online or by phone and ask to have it delivered to a city address. If you show up at the agriculture supply shop in your Ford F-350 pickup and pay cash, no problem or alarm bells. Just don't wear a suit or middle eastern fashion. A Caterpillar (or JCB) cap would not go amiss.

            1. Ian Michael Gumby

              Re: @h3 ... OOPS!

              Clearly you've never gone in to a Fleet Farm or maybe the seed and feed.

              (Yes, I have).

              Again, try buying Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer and you will see how much things have changed over the years.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: OOPS!

      I think most of us as teens did similar things.

      But that was then and before things like 9/11, 7/7 and now 4/15 (Boston).

      Yes its very easy to walk in to a grocery store or a pharmacy and buy household chemicals to make explosives. Heck, you don't even need to do that to make thermite.

      While I don't condone the girls getting charged, I do think that they were stupid and should have been more careful.

      Doing it on school grounds should have been reason for a short suspension, but other than that... imagine if they mixed amonia and bleach together in a confined space with poor ventilation....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Mad Mike

        Re: OOPS!

        "Yes its very easy to walk in to a grocery store or a pharmacy and buy household chemicals to make explosives. Heck, you don't even need to do that to make thermite."

        Yes. In the USA, this is almost as easy as walking to the local shops and picking up an AK47 with a couple hundred rounds. Nip back home, shoot someone by accident and be let off scot free. Unfortunate accident; nothing more. I really can't imagine how a society that allows children to shoot pretty much anything they like then think it's reasonable to do anything about a coke bottle experiment.

        They've got people in the Rocky mountains running around with automatic weapons and playing at 'survival' and don't seem to do much about it, but a child doing something pretty harmless gets the book thrown at her. Amazing lack of judgement at all levels. Yes, it could be dangerous and people could be harmed, but certainly not as much as having more weapons than people in the country.

        1. Curtis

          Re: OOPS!

          Mad Mike, you sir are either a master of sarcasm or a fucktard. an "AK47" in a fully automatic variant would be a Class 3 NFA item and unable to be purchased unless the item was manufactured prior to 1986 without being a a "Special Occupation Taxpayer" - ie a dealer who is selling the device to a credentialed LEO/LEA

          A semi-automatic configuration fires one round each time the trigger is pulled. And yes, you can walk into a licensed dealer and buy one. At which time you will be required to fill out a form and submit to a background check to make sure that you are not prohibited from ownership by either a felony conviction or an involuntary commitment to a mental hospital.

          As far as the number of firearms in private ownership- yes, we have only to look at Mexico, our peaceful neighbor to the south, to see what a total ban on private ownership does for the crime rate. Or even some cities in the US: Chicago, New York and DC)

          This young lady had a chem experiment go wrong. No one was hurt. No damage was done. So let's ruin her life by marking her a felon so some worthless DA can make a name for themselves.

          1. Psyx

            Re: OOPS!

            "yes, we have only to look at Mexico, our peaceful neighbor to the south, to see what a total ban on private ownership does for the crime rate. "

            Correlation is not causation.

            Banning firearms itself didn't 'do' anything to the crime rate in itself in Mexico. You're making a ridiculous argument.

            It was the turf wars of psychotic murdering assholes involved in the drug industry that caused the high rate of crime. Which of course was caused by overseas drug demand. And the total failure of law enforcement to enforce the legislation once in place due to corruption and poor quality of policing. And further worsened by the number of firearms being smuggled into Mexico along a porous border from the US.

            You can't say 'firearm regulation doesn't work' if it's not enforced, if people are smuggling in weapons as fast as they are taken off the streets, and unless there is a concerted effort to get them off the streets. It's like saying 'dieting doesn't work' while sneaking off for a BigMac every lunchtime.

            1. Marshalltown

              Re: OOPS!

              "Correlation is not causation."

              That's true. In fact, if you look at British crime stats, you'll discover that use of guns in crimes has increased with each law banning or controlling fire arms. What causes the laws are politicians anxious to look responsible and effective, and thus relectable. Probably what should be banned are politicians.

          2. Mad Mike

            Re: OOPS!


            "Mad Mike, you sir are either a master of sarcasm or a fucktard. an "AK47" in a fully automatic variant would be a Class 3 NFA item and unable to be purchased unless the item was manufactured prior to 1986 without being a a "Special Occupation Taxpayer" - ie a dealer who is selling the device to a credentialed LEO/LEA"

            At this point, I will take the master of sarcasm charge you've laid. I will prove this further by pointing out that I come from a relatively speaking sane country (not the USA) and therefore do not understand the exact ins and outs of American gun ownership law. However, this is the reason why I also understand that thinking there is really any perceivable difference (in damage inflicted terms) between a weapon being automatic or semi-automatic is madness, especially when they have a standard magazine capacity of 30 rounds. It simply means you can shoot 1 person every half second (total 30) rather than 30 in a couple of seconds shorter time by using automatic fire. I also understand that someone using a semi-automatic will probably aim each shot more and therefore will probably hit more people than someone simply spraying on full automatic and therefore the semi-automatic model would quite probably cause greater casualties.

            But then, what would a country that thinks not having its population permanently armed to the hilt know about firearms?

            For information, Mexico may well have more murders and tighter gun control, but then Britain has very tight gun control and very few murders with guns, so your correlation simply isn't supported by reality.

            Don't get me wrong. I do think that Britain has gone a bit too far. But then, I wouldn't suggest that allowing just about anyone to own an AK47 (whether auto or semi) is a good idea either. Sensible compromise is the answer, but American gun laws and action against this law clearly show this is not a concept America understands.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: OOPS!

              "standard magazine capacity of 30 rounds"

              Presumably two magazines would be taped back to back (reversed) so the pause in the middle of 60 rounds is minimal. That was the standard configuration for the kibbutz weapons when I was on a fruit-picking holiday many years ago.

          3. Earth Resident

            Re: OOPS!

            Unless you purchase it (the semi-automatic version) from a gun show or your neighbor.

            No background check, no papers to fill out. In Arizona, one is required to sign a form that any guns purchased at a licensed dealer be for the buyer's use only. Except, of course, the law allows the buyer to change their mind with no consequences as soon as they leave the shop.

            91% of Americans agree that universal background checks for those buying any guns should be mandatory. However, the NRA and arms manufacturers instructed their minions in the US congress to filibuster even a watered down bill.

          4. Dana W

            Re: OOPS!

            @Curtis Reality won't effect these people, they are ignorant bigots who's minds are made up. They know our laws better than we do, really, just ask them, they will tell you all about it. And they know all about the USA, its just like on TV! really!

            And they had a cousin who went last year! And he saw real guns! In the Toy store! automatic weapons! They have them in candy machines! And they carry them to school! You can get bazookas at the 7/11! and no background checks! They read it somewhere!

            They are terribly fascinated with what they cannot have and will not rest will we are free to be killed by chavs for our cellphones just like in "civilized" counties.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Mad Mike Re: OOPS!

          I think you've been watching too much TV.

          First school age kids can't run around with weapons legally. Technically the .22 rifle they got for Xmas or their birthday is owned by their parents. Also you better believe that when a parent give a gun to a teen, they teach the teen about proper gun safety. (Or rather they should...) [Think of it as evolution in action]

          Also in an accidental shooting, no one is let off scot free. They may not face charges or jail time, but there are still repercussions.

          Note that I'm not advocating any jail time, however because they did this on school property, I think that its fair that the school does something.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: @Mad Mike OOPS!

            "First school age kids can't run around with weapons legally. Technically the .22 rifle they got for Xmas or their birthday is owned by their parents. Also you better believe that when a parent give a gun to a teen, they teach the teen about proper gun safety. (Or rather they should...) [Think of it as evolution in action]"

            If I believed this was done to allow Darwin and his 'laws' to work, I would applaud the system. However, I'm pretty convinced, it's actually stupidity on the behalf of lawmakers. The other issue is that the kid could just have easily killed someone completely unconnected with the decision, so Darwin isn't working then. Many parents in the USA aren't teaching their kids about proper gun safety, keep their guns way too available etc. and that's why there are so many shootings. Whether the parent owns the gun or not is really quite irrelevant. I agree the 5 year old had no idea what he was doing and will have to live with the consequences for the rest of his life. Hopefully, this will make him treat his children and guns better than his parents treated him. There is no way on this earth that the parents should avoid significant legal penalties for such acts of crass stupidity that allowed this to happen. It is epic negligence at best.

            "Also in an accidental shooting, no one is let off scot free. They may not face charges or jail time, but there are still repercussions."

            Yes, if they have a conscience. However, if they had a conscience of any real mental powers, this wouldn't have happened in the first place, so the parents are probably busy off blaming someone else. I repeat what I said above. The parents should be facing serious legal action.

            "Note that I'm not advocating any jail time, however because they did this on school property, I think that its fair that the school does something."

            I don't think anyone is saying the school should do nothing. Just that sending in the stormtroopers is completely disproportionate. But then, people in the USA have never really understood proportionate response. Ample history of using B52s to take out individuals.

            1. MrZoolook

              Re: @Mad Mike OOPS!

              "I don't think anyone is saying the school should do nothing. Just that sending in the stormtroopers is completely disproportionate."

              While I don't know much about the American judicial system, I would argue that the school acted responsibly. They were unsure what action they SHOULD have taken, so asked the local authority (police) how to proceed. Once that happened, any consequences are squarely on the shoulders of the police. As soon as the school were informed of the formal charges, they acted responsibly too. If they had allowed her to stay in school, the rest of the students would see that as license to act just as (potentially) dangerously.

              In point of fact, had that bottle top skewed off to the side, she could very easily have blinded someone. Would that constitute a punishable offence?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Mad Mike OOPS!

            "Also you better believe that when a parent give a gun to a teen, they teach the teen about proper gun safety. "

            Like the 5 year old that shot and killed his two year old sister only the other day.

            No, I don't better believe it, because I know that many, many parents do not have a clue about bringing up children.

          3. Marshalltown
            Thumb Up

            Re: @Mad Mike OOPS!

            "Note that I'm not advocating any jail time, however because they did this on school property, I think that its fair that the school does something."

            Problem is that the school probably is caught between a rock and a school board. Simply disciplining the girl for not asking for some help - there are precious few chemistry teachers that don't like explosives - would be about right, but some half-witted parent will consider the action "completely inadequate, think of the children!" Likewise, the board is elected and wants the parents to support their easy check every month, so the board has to look "serious." At the other end is the city, county and state, all of whom are in similar straits. The bottle was not a "desctructive device," nor did she manufacture an explosive per se, but still, it did make a noise. I wonder if the teacher can still generate hydrogen and capture in test tube, then ignite it with a match?

        3. Michael Dunn

          Re: OOPS! @Mad Mike

          Just read your own post again, Mike. Look at it from the police point of view - wouldn't it be a lot easier and safer to apprehend a 16-year old girl than to go seriously into the mountains and try to round up armed 'survival' players? Another case solved with minimal exertion, and file closed. Bring on the 'donuts'!

      3. Johan Bastiaansen

        Re: OOPS!

        Imagine they set off a nuclear device. Off to Guantanamo with them ! ! !

        1. LateNightLarry

          Re: OOPS!

          Nope... they'd be "buried" in Colorado's SuperMax prison, never to be seen again.

      4. Alan_Peery

        Re: OOPS!

        She's 16. That makes her 4 at 9/11. She lives in a town I've never heard of in Florida, which is a long way from New York City. 7/7 was in London. Do you honestly think that requiring teenagers to act in accordance with things so remote to their experience is realistic or even fair?

        1. I think so I am?

          Re: OOPS!

          I would like to point back to my post on the 31st of Jan.

          It would appear that in the 3months since that post, America has shown they still haven't gotten a f*cking clue!

          Il get my coat again.

          1. Turtle

            @I think so I am?: Re: ""I would like to point back to my post"

            "I would like to point back to my post on the 31st of Jan."

            I'd like to point out one of the responses to your post:

            "They need to get a clue in the UK as well. For 8 weeks the area I live in was ravaged by 2 scumbags who burgled as many homes as possible. The police knew who they were but were powerless without any hard evidence. The reason they were doing this? They were awaiting sentencing on similar charges and knew they would get jail time. Since all sentences in the UK are concurrent they had a "free pass". If they were caught they would have it added to their charges and it would make no difference to the sentence they were going to get."

            ( -

            Anonymous Coward Thursday 31st January 2013 10:31 GMT)

      5. Psyx

        Re: OOPS!

        "But that was then and before things like 9/11, 7/7 and now 4/15 (Boston)."

        And yet after The Troubles, Guy Fawkes, and a bunch of airliners getting blown up in the 70s.

        Really, 9/11 has zero bearing. It's a kid. And not even technically a real explosive. Policing and Prosecution alike need to apply the law with a degree of common f**king sense, rather than with the obstinate wankery of a recently divorced traffic warden with trapped wind.

        1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

          Re: OOPS! @Psyx

          "obstinate wankery..."


          New keyboard please!

      6. Fibbles

        Re: OOPS!

        As part of my primary school physics lessons my teacher let all the kids in the class create their own rockets using a 2 litre coke bottle, a rubber bung, some water and a foot pump. I'll grant you that there's no chemical reaction involved but the results were probably very similar to what this girl achieved.

        As for your ridiculous comment about 9/11, most people on these forums were likely conducting their childhood explosive experiments at the same time as the IRA was conducting their multi-decade campaign of lethal fuckwittery.

      7. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: OOPS!

        Why all the down votes?

        Clearly I'm old enough to have a) done worse as a youth, and b) have kids their age.

        The difference is that

        1) We didn't have the constant worry about home made bombs going off killing or seriously injuring people.

        2) Unlike the the girls, we took precautions to keep us safe.

        3) We didn't do any of this on school grounds.

        Should the girls face criminal charges? No.

        Should the girls face disciplinary action from the school? Yes.

        There's a reason why there is a disclaimer on the TV shows that kids shouldn't do things on their own.

        Sorry, but lets be real. The school system has to protect itself and it has to re-enforce that its possible to do something stupid and someone can get hurt. They have to set an example so others think before doing something similar but even more dangerous...

        I wonder if you can still buy iodine crystals at a local pharmacy these days....

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: OOPS!

          @IMG - I downvoted because of this statement:-

          'Doing it on school grounds should have been reason for a short suspension'

          This was a kid exhibiting curiosity and you want to suspend her ?

          Like most others I did stuff like this as a kid. I also did it on school grounds on 2 occasions - one of those causing a complete blackout of the entire school (don't ask). Now fortunately for me those in charge at the time believed in teaching kids and not simply minding them for a few hours and so they dragged me into a room and gave me a good bollocking .. and that was it.

          In this case there wasn't even any damage so a sane reaction would have been to have a quick chat about the expected effect and possibly plan a formal and safe experiment that everyone can watch and learn from.

        2. D Crunkilton

          Re: OOPS!

          Since Iodine is used in the conversion of pseudoefedrine to amphetamine, iodine crystals are difficult to obtain. Just ask the retiree who repacked bulk Iodine into small vials for resale as a water purification aid by outdoors camping stores. When the feds asked him about his security arrangements, he sent them a picture of his pet "watch dog". They were not impressed.

        3. Mad Mike

          Re: OOPS!

          "1) We didn't have the constant worry about home made bombs going off killing or seriously injuring people."

          Completely irrelevant. You can't change your whole way of life based on a few nutters planting bombs. Britain was extensively bombed during the 70s and 80s, but we didn't suddenly start prosecuting kids for stupid trivia.

          "2) Unlike the the girls, we took precautions to keep us safe."

          Difficult to tell what precautions they took. There's not enough detail. However, nobody was hurt, so maybe they did take precautions. Who knows.

          "Sorry, but lets be real. The school system has to protect itself and it has to re-enforce that its possible to do something stupid and someone can get hurt. They have to set an example so others think before doing something similar but even more dangerous..."

          Yes, let's be real. You don't go around potentially ruining a girls life for a stupid prank. It's called proportionality. Nobody is suggesting she shouldn't get a right royal bollocking. But suspension? Yes, let's get into the real world. The world outside of the USA.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OOPS!

            "Britain was extensively bombed during the 70s and 80s"

            I think that as WW2 and WW1 become part of ancient history, our attitudes are changing. During the 80s people who fought in WW2 were just coming up for retirement. My father survived D-Day, when the Germans were actively trying to kill him, and weeks thereafter on a Normandy beach with occasional Stuka strikes. The IRA were just background noise for people like him, no reason to stop taking the Underground or avoid government buildings. I, younger generation and professional coward, preferred to walk from Paddington to Marble Arch. Our headmaster at school flew Lancasters and our technology master had been a Mosquito pilot. They were pretty relaxed about a bit of risk, because they knew the difference between real and apparent danger. The same went for the politicians. Ted Heath had taken tanks through Germany in WW2, he really wasn't going to freak out at a mere miners' strike. It was Margaret Thatcher, who had probably never been near live ammunition, who thought that the miners were some kind of enemy army.

            By 2000, the USA (which was never at risk of invasion or bombing) had largely forgotten about war but accepted high levels of road deaths and gun deaths. 9/11 seems to have been a tremendous psychological shock to which they have overreacted massively. They also seem to be trying to export their massive overreaction to the rest of the world. And, despite the Unabomber, they still seem to think that the risk comes from people who are non-white,

            I suspect but cannot prove that if the person who did this had been in the football team, we'd never have heard about it.

          2. Marshalltown

            Re: OOPS!

            Sorry, I have to down vote this one.

            Doing the stunt at school probably was an effort to be safer. Urban and suburban lots are pretty small, so the school grounds were likely the most extensive space she had access to. Distance is always a safety measure. She also probably didn't want to get in trouble if the residual chemical did damage at home, another and very serious consideration.

            "Real." I considered moving to Britain until I found that carrying a pocket knife could be cause for arrest if the officer involved simply disliked the way I looked. I've carried a pocket knife nearly every day of my life without incident. I've even handed it to the security guard at the Western Wall and Jerusalem, who took it, opened the blade, checked the edge, raised his eyebrows, smiled and handed it back.

      8. Earth Resident

        Re: OOPS!

        Of course in Florida, should an armed bystander have felt threatened by the device, he/she could "stand their ground" and shoot and kill Ms. Wilmot.

        This is total insanity and actionable lack of common sense. The school authorities and state official that authorized the charges are the ones to be scrutinized IMO.

      9. cortland

        Re: OOPS!

        Considering that a similar result may sometimes be achieved with Quinine Water merely by SHAKING it, we are all in a lot of trouble.

        Gin only, please.

        Beer. Call it a chaser, BATF type.

      10. cordwainer 1

        Re: OOPS! Why all the downvotes?

        I'm confused about what the downvoters are downvoting - in other words, could someone clarify what the downvoters are disagreeing with?

        That it's easy to purchase household chemicals with which to make some kind of explosive? That's simply a fact - kind of hard to disagree with.

        That Gumby doesn't think the girls should have been charged? I don't think so either - it seems a ridiculous overreaction to the what happened - and the majority here seem to agree, so why would that sentiment be downvoted.

        That the girls were stupid? Well, I would have phrased it differently. THEY probably aren't stupid - but what they DID was kind of a stupid stunt, because they did it at school instead of somewhere they wouldn't have gotten in trouble for a chemical experiment. They pretty much knew what was going to happen.

        That making something go "bang!" on school grounds merits a short suspension? That's fairly common. And Gumby has a point - some experiments can have rather disastrous, or life-threatening consequences.

        That most of us as teens did similar things? I kind of doubt "most" of us pulled a prank like that at school (pranks are still a minority activity).....

        but Gumby has a point here too: in public or taxpayer-funded locations, there is less tolerance now than there was in the past for pranks that might cause a bomb scare, i.e., for anything that resembles an explosion or gunshot.

        I didn't upvote Gumby's post, by the way, didn't see any reason to vote one way or another.

        But COULD someone clarify what is being downvoted? I'm not understanding what's so objectionable about the comment....what am I missing?

      11. T J

        Re: OOPS!

        You're a dickhead.

      12. Marshalltown

        Re: OOPS!

        The sad turn of affairs was in the wind long before 9/11. Read Clockwork Orange for starters. I used to resent it that my dad had stories of stunts he pulled that either got an honorable mention or a note to his dad and appointment with a belt or some other unpleasant consequence. He had a lot of kids books (boys book) that dated back to well before WWII - some to near WWI - and the stuff that went on in those stories would had HIM in serious trouble. Later when my son was in school, it was clear that he felt similarly. Things that might have gotten me chewed out by the teacher would have had him suspended and required a conference between the principal and parents. That actually did happen to me, but only twice.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OOPS!

      Given the propensity of the UK police to dredge out crimes from 46 years ago (see Ken Barlow of Coronation St) I think Lewis is on dangerous ground with such admissions of guilt.

      Iodine and ammonia (Nitrogen TriIodide) are quite effective for making a bang as my sister will attest. It works well on toilet seats too.

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: OOPS!

        My brother and I demonstrated that nearly any available fine powder will ignite gloriously under the right conditions. We used to blame burns in the table cloth on my parents smoking habit - heh.

    4. peter 45

      Re: OOPS!

      Ever seen a firecracker inside a bottle of St Ivel 5 pints? (do they still sell it?). Very satisfying fireball.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OOPS!

      A five-year-old boy who shot dead his two-year-old sister in the US state of Kentucky used a gun marketed for children, authorities have said.

      Kristian Sparks was given the .22-calibre rifle, called a Crickett, as a gift.

      The Cumberland County coroner said a bullet had been left in the gun ahead of Tuesday's shooting.

      Caroline's death has been ruled accidental, and it is not clear whether any charges will be filed.


      2 May 2013

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OOPS!

      Look, when I was at school the crafts master helped someone build a full scale hunting crossbow and forge some bolts for it. He got a grade 1 in Technology A level, too.

      Her mistake was to do it in Florida, where in some towns, so I am told, when an alligator walks down the main street it raises the average IQ.

  3. Turtle

    What I'd Like.

    "Unfortunately an assistant principal called the police and ..."

    I'd like to know a little bit more about that individual right there..

    1. Dazed & Confused

      Re: What I'd Like.

      There's a single downvote on every sensible comment pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation.

      I sense we've found our assistant principle....

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: What I'd Like.

        ...and the responding officer now that there are two down-votes. Waiting for the third from the state prosecutor...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What I'd Like.

          I smell a lynch mob brewing! haven't you lot learned not to jump to conclusions and start blaming people for things? Maybe the assistant didn't know it was a "model student who had never been in trouble before". Granted the state prosecutor should probably have had more sense but since I've not read a reasoned account of what happened yet, I can't decide who is/isn't to blame yet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What I'd Like.

            2 down votes? How short minded you are. Last week, you were all agreeing that users on twitter were stupid to have named the innocent guy as the boston bomber without all the facts! Now you are doing something similar with the assistant principal! Sheesh.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: What I'd Like.

              Online votes? People expressing their "discomfort"? WTF?

              What is wrong with these people? If anything like that happened round our area, I would be rounding up a good few hundred friends and storming the place to demand that this stupidity stop.

              When did we get so timid?

              There comes a point where it's not enough for people to tut and say how bad it's getting. This poor girl is being mercilessly hounded by people in power who should really know better. Her life is ruined.

              It's a fscking disgrace.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: What I'd Like.

        It probably is him. Seriously where is the common sense, kids have a laugh and make some questionable decisions but a criminal record and expulsion for this? Thank god our cops are saner here. I'd still be locked up if they had been nearly that strict when I was young. I remember our chemistry teacher chucking a decent sized rock of sodium into the beck to demonstrate why we should be careful with it. We really have managed to get very lost in recent years.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: What I'd Like.

          " I remember our chemistry teacher chucking a decent sized rock of sodium into the beck to demonstrate why we should be careful with it."

          Hehe, we did the same, except the teacher used a pea sized piece of sodium, but then got called out of the class for something, leaving the oil wrapped sodium block behind :) Nee dI say more? Well, just a little then, the ceiling tiles needed replacing.

          As far as this 'bottle explosion' goes, I've seen the reaction you can get with a bottle of coke and some mintoe's (sp?) - this hardly sounds like it should even register as much as a banger.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: What I'd Like.

            Soduim. My chemistry teacher did this in a large pyrex bowl. Said he had done it many time before. This time, the sodium ball stuck to the edge of the bowl, and caused the bowl to 'explode'.

            Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but it did shake everybody up, including the teacher.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What I'd Like.

      Bartow has several assistant principles so it'll take a bit of work to find out which douche is responsible.

      They are :

      Commandant Steven Cochran Summerlin Assistant Principal

      Dan Durham, Assistant Principal of Discipline

      Emilean Clemons, Assistant Principal of Curriculum

      Freddie Douglas, Assistant Principal of Facilities

      I grabbed these from the Bartow website (

      No way to tell who it is although there are email addresses so a politely worded inquiry might elicit a response -

      My personal unscientific vote goes to Commandant Steve Cochran - The reason will be obvious if you go to the site.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: What I'd Like.

        Post that info on 4chan.

      2. Mad Mike

        Re: What I'd Like.

        "My personal unscientific vote goes to Commandant Steve Cochran - The reason will be obvious if you go to the site."

        Now, I don't like to judge a book by it's cover, but...........damn. I see exactly what you mean. The others look relatively normal and sane. Now, I know the camera can do dreadful things, god knows I've had this happen enough to me, but he really isn't helping himself.

        Personally, I also love the titles. An assistant principal of everything!! The titles lower down the chain are pretty funny as well. Give everyone a jumped up 'important' title and suddenly they all feel better about themselves and more important. Says something about the individuals really..........

      3. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: What I'd Like.

        A school has a *Commandant" as an Assistant Principal??? See icon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          The school's principles may well be brought into question, but it was the assistant principal who called the police.

  4. Ralph B

    Kids for Cash?

    I suppose it's not possible that the assistant principal is being sponsored by a private, for-profit juvenile detention facility? It has happened before.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward

    unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

    The laws are written to cover fucking maniacs with bombs. I'm guessing that performing the "Mentos and Diet Coke" experiment will get you 10 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

      And what is the harm done to US schoolchildren by the original contents of Coke bottles?

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

      Yeah well the Yanks seem to have this obsession with treating anyone older than 6 months as an adult, forcing kids to grow up as fast as possible and they wonder why the place is full of radicalised nutters who never had a childhood.

      FFS! Whatever happened to giving teenagers a bollocking for being bloody stupid and leaving it at that? Oh no, we have all this complete and utter waste of public money prosecuting some dopey kid who fancied messing about. They should have marched the girl in question straight to the head of the science dept for a discussion about to safety and chemicals, the teacher gets to know their students better and might prevent a student from seriously injuring themselves in the pursuit of science, the student gets to understand how daft unplanned experiments can be. Oh no, let's have a panic situation and whip the miscreant off to Gitmo for being a trainee terror suspect and all because some complete fecking local nutjob somehow managed to get a job as the state prosecutor and wants to justify their budget and get their name in the industry press for preventing a disaster!! FFS!

      My Dad told me he got a severely thick ear off his grandad once when my Dad, being a dopey teenager at the time, him and his mates thought it would be bloody funny to hide bangers and aerosol cans in a bonfire. The resulting explosion frightened most of neighbours and his Mum to go slightly deaf in one ear. If he tried that now, his feet wouldn't touch and he be in a Police cell quicker than you can say "police state over reaction"!

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

        "Yeah well the Yanks seem to have this obsession with treating anyone older than 6 months as an adult,"

        Except when it comes to alcohol. And a few other things that I can't remember at the moment.

        It's the inconsistency that really does it. They get told to grow up and then get treated like children when they try. Unfortunately it's not a problem limited to the states.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

          Graham Dawson, nudity would be one of the other things.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

            OK, so what should happen according to this fool with kids doing a mentos + coke in the nude? Gitmo?

            Sjeez, these guys have really, really gone off the rails. Totally against any improvement of their gun laws, but happy to get a kid into trouble for a bit of experimental chemistry. Worse: this specific nutcase is involved in teaching kids. Personally, I know who *really* represents the danger to society here..

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

              Guns are noble defenders of America's freedom - she was using science.

              Science is only one step from godless commie atheism

              1. Intractable Potsherd

                Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

                "Science is only one step from godless commie atheism". And don't forget she is not white - might that have some bearing on the matter?

        2. Psyx

          Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

          "Except when it comes to alcohol. And a few other things that I can't remember at the moment."

          And sex, of course.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: well the Yanks seem to have this obsession with treating anyone older than 6 months

        Not the Yanks, the Democrats.

      3. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

        The law treats them like adults in some respects but not in others, such as drinking. Also the school age boundries tend to have an affect, keeping kids 'younger'. It's pretty screwed up tbh.

        Totally agree re the Dad discipline. The neighbours lad got a ride home in a squad car again tonight, nice lad but no sense. Most of our leo's know the kids aren't going to benefit from a record for trivial stuff, but parental justice does frequently work so they give it a chance.

      4. Psyx

        Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

        "My Dad told me he got a severely thick ear off his grandad once when my Dad, being a dopey teenager at the time..."

        At Xmas my step-father told me how they used to make a somewhat more dangerous form of devil-bangers from .50 BMG ammunition thrown out of the planes by damaged American bombers coming in to land.

        The HEI ammunition was best for it.

        It made me pinching 12 gauge ammunition from Barber pockets and making explosives with it as a child look positively safe!

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

      Mentos and coke would be a weapon of mass destruction and a war crime

      1. Matthew 25

        Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

        From what I understand, coke is a weapon of mass destruction all on its own.

        1. Richard_L

          Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

          " From what I understand, coke is a weapon of mass destruction all on its own."

          For most Americans, I think it is more of a weapon of mass creation

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

            HFCS --- A chemical weapon

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

          Isn't it mass creation?

          Look at all the mass carried by the bucket'O'coke drinking yanks

    4. Tom 13

      Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

      I hear in NYC, that bottle of Diet Coke alone will get you 5 years.

      1. Jim jimminy jim jim jim jim

        Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

        full fat coke will not incur any penalty however ;)

    5. Haku

      Re: unintended f*c*i*g consequences.

      I'm guessing that performing the "Mentos and Diet Coke" experiment will get you 10 years.

      And stuffing dry ice into a plastic bottle then screwing the top on will get you life...

  6. Jimboom

    Whatever next

    Things really are becoming a bit silly over the pond these days. If it is not companies having a bitch fight in the courts then it is ridiculous stories like this.

    It's a wonder the police have the time to catch or prosecute any real criminals.

    Hell, I would wager that a bottle of coke and mentos has more "destructive power" then what she made.

    People need to calm the heck down and be reasonable. When I was a kid we used to do things like this all the time without fear of being labeled a terrorist. Yes, times may have changed some, but just because there are bad people out there who want to blow things up it doesn't mean we have to jump out of a skins every time there is a loud bang... and then arrest the offending party for making the loud bang in the first place.

    The one point I was say is that she is possibly a bit silly for doing this on school property. Do it off school property and then throw the bottle onto school property if you really must.

    I'll get me coat, it's the one with the Anarchists cookbook V1 in the pocket.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Lewis!

    As a teenager he personally created and let off many "destructive devices" of much greater power than Ms Wilmot's.

    This is not big or clever - I know at least 2 people that don't have all their fingers due to this kind of tom foolery and at least one of them has had a visit from the fuzz recently because of a poor taste email he may of sent to a friend in a BNF site.

    Listen out for the sirens friend!

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Oh Lewis!

      So Lewis did some stupid things as a kid. Big whoop. I feel for you if you can't say the same.

      Kids will be kids and do stupid things. I bet much, much more harm is done falling from trees or diving into shallow water than with messing around with under-the-sink chemicals or fireworks. To punish curiosity and tomfoolery using anti-terror laws is f*cking absurd - that was the point being made.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Oh Lewis!

        except it isn't an anti-terror law. This idiocy was around long before 9/11, mostly at schools, which are pretty much under the control of Progressives.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Oh Lewis!

          Yes Tom, most schools in the U.S. have progressed to the point they even teach evolution and say that the Earth is more than 6,000 years old! Some even offer free breakfast and lunch to the poor kids! Isn't that terrible! Think of the children!

    2. Psyx

      Re: Oh Lewis!

      Bet you never made a bow that could kill at twenty paces either did you, killjoy?

  8. Badvok

    Might the story have been just a little different if the girl, or one of her mates, had got a nice eyeful of bleach and permanently lost her eyesight? It is not really as harmless as this article makes it appear.

    Even some of the vids on youtube comment about the damage this type of 'experiment' does to anything near by, simply because you are spraying a harmful corrosive substance around.

    1. Badvok

      Just wanted to add a link to some more info for those who, like Lewis, think bleach is harmless:

      Keep this link handy when you are playing around with your 'harmless' household products.

      1. The BigYin

        I've got some Borax downstairs. Maybe you should provide a link to that as well.

        And cooking oil. That's dangerous too, when hot. Can you give me a link please?

        Knives! My goodness, I forgot about the knives! Best give us a link so we can all be safe!

        Water! ARG! You can drown in that! Link please! Help me! I'm scared to go in the kitchen!

        You are beyond ridiculous, Badvok.

        1. Mad Mike

          Bearing in mind this is the USA, I would have thought they should be more concerned about the two dozen AK47s and other assorted automatic weapons available to her at home!! Yes, bleach can be dangerous to both her and other people nearby. However, that's how children learn. Whether it's climbing trees or riding bikes or whatever. They sometimes hurt themselves and maybe someone else. But, they learn and come out much better for it.

          Bearing in mind what they've done to her, I imagine they're breeding a lot of people who hate them at home as well as Afghan and Iraq. And people wonder why there's a significant number of people in the USA who hate the government (state authorities etc.). Do you think there's a chance she could become one now?

        2. Badvok

          @The BigYin: "You are beyond ridiculous, Badvok."

          Easy Tiger, just pointing out that this experiment was far from harmless, spraying corrosives around is a dangerous activity and she was very lucky no one was hurt. Yes the knee jerk reaction is idiotic, but so is the attitude that this type of thing can simply be brushed away as a 'harmless' jape.

          Probably the best punishment would be for the girl to do a couple of weeks in an emergency room dealing with chemical burns.

          1. Trokair 1


            "Probably the best punishment would be for the girl to do a couple of weeks in an emergency room dealing with chemical burns."

            Or f**king not. You are only half off your rocker. She was in possesion of no banned items, there were no victims, and there was no damage. What should happen is that her Science has a talk with her about chemicals and her parents have a talk with her about doing experiments on school grounds. There is no crime here for your "punishment".

          2. paulll

            "she was very lucky no one was hurt" .. Why do you assume she was very lucky, rather than appropriately careful?

          3. Uffish


            What you say is true but, for most people, the badly judged reaction by the authorities is the real crime.

            I've still got a small trace of a scar on my wrist from setting off .22 blank cartridges by putting them on one rock and hitting them with another rock. This was when I was in primary school and took place in the school playground during morning break. After the break ended one of the teachers asked me why my wrist was bleeding, and was it anything to do with the explosions he had heard. I said "No" and he said "Good, because explosions can sometimes cause serious injuries". He said just enough to make me realize I had been an idiot and no more.

            That sort of wisdom is all too rare these days.

            1. Steven Raith
              Thumb Up

              Re: @Badvok

              Uffish - I can confirm I have never seen similar things done with shotgun cartridges.

              The first time the bung flew and out in an unexpected direction and nearly twatted someone in the face, though, it stopped.

              (I was twenty feet away, sensibly being a pussy, of course, and never did work out exactly how they were doing it given how a shotgun cartridge is constructed - although this was before the air rifle incident when we were still young and carefree. And utter numpties...)

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Badvok RE @The BigYin: "You are beyond ridiculous, Badvok."

            Easy Tiger, just pointing out that this experiment was far from harmless, spraying corrosives around is a dangerous activity and she was very lucky no one was hurt.

            But.. .But what if she decided not to do the experiment but walk off with her friend, tripped over her own feet (as clumsy teenagers sometimes do), fell on her friend so they both went down, and while trying to get up she accidentally put her finger in her friend's eye? Someone could've gotten seriously hurt if she'd walked away!

        3. Parax

          BORAX Fun.

          1 tsp Borax into Bucket of 1:10 Diluted PVA Glue.. stir...

          Add green colour to taste...

          Slime Away!

          (that's taste as in how you feel, don't eat the stuff!)

      2. James Hughes 1


        At no point did Lewis say bleach was harmless. But then, neither is crossing the road, or climbing trees, or driving a car, or owning a gun (well, it is America), or boxing, or flying, or running, or...well, I could go on.

        In this particular case, if care is taken, then the experiment is almost certainly harmless. Just like all the examples in my previous sentence.

      3. Eddy Ito

        Strictly speaking, it isn't bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Assuming it was the liquid product (the company also has a granular product with a similar name) then according to the MSDS it's a weak hydrochloric acid. When combined with aluminum foil it generates hydrogen gas, big surprise, and aluminum chloride which, being corrosive, is an irritant. Since it appears to have only popped its top then it's doubtful that any acidic compounds were sprayed about and the quantity of any resulting vapors was likely minimal.

        The proper way to do this is to take the child out to the shed and explain how to perform the experiment correctly and safely. I find children learn faster and have a greater respect for things when they know what is going on and why they shouldn't play carelessly with them.

    2. The BigYin

      You have to consider intent.

      Kids hurt (and kill themselves) climbing tree. What do you want to do? Expel kids for doing what kids will do?

      She needs a bollocking, sure, but not expulsion.

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      What if

      She had tried to bathe in that bleach, or wash her face with it, or drink it. Or spontaneouslyt combust, that could take someone's eye out!

      WHAT IF? WON'T SOMEOBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN !!11!!11eleventyone!11!


      1. Seanie Ryan

        Re: What if

        the whole problem with "what if's" is that little word : - IF

        it didnt happen, so 'what if' is a mostly pointless exercise.

        now, had her actions lost someone an eye, then yep, call the cops, expell etc, but in this case, a simple telling off, or maybe march her home to her parents would have done.

        What IF you close the door in the office with a loud bang? call the cops, it might have sounded like a bomb or a gunshot , what IF someone's hand got caught in it, you would have willfully intended to harm that person. The door must now be considered a weapon. Ban all doors.

        WHAT IF can be applied to anything you want to make any outcome.

        But in this case, there is no IFing, just F'ing idiots.

        1. Steven Raith
          Thumb Up

          Re: What if

          I tend to agree with Seanie. To be honest, even if someone *had* lost an eye, her intent and her attitude after the fact would be a better determination of whether she should face full on criminal charges for what would likely be best described as an accident.

          I shot my mate in the chest once with an air rifle - completely accidentally, the silly bugger had set the trigger up to be far too sensitive, and it went off when I closed the barrel after loading it. Yes, it was loaded. Yes, I learned a lot about weapon control that day. He now has what he describes as a third nipple. Neither he or his parents even considered talking to the police about it when they had seen how white from shock I had gone at the result of my carelessness, and how utterly awful I felt about it. They considered taking me to hospital too because they thought I might have gone into shock (whereas in reality I was just shitting myself at the consequences of what I had done).

          He was fine, incidentally, didn't penetrate far. Big plaster for a few weeks, and he was fine and we were shooting again.

          Had I, however, been bragging about how he deserved it for being a twat or some other such crap, I dare say it would have turned out different, and the police would probably have got involved.

          There's a time and a place for learning from your mistakes, and there's a time and a place for criminal charges - and it's entirely dependant on intent and consequences of what you've done, and how you are perceived to behave afterwards.

          As Seanie says, 'what if' hypothecations are pointless in this instance - no-one was harmed, there is no insinuation that she was trying to harm anybody, and as a result it seems like a massive overreaction by some do-gooding cockend who has about as much idea about how a kids head works (something important if you work in education) as the average dormouse.

          Until I see evidence to the contrary (IE that is was anything other than teenage hijinks with no ill will intended) then my position is the assistant head and the other authorities involved are just plain stupid.

          Steven R

        2. Badvok

          Re: What if

          @Seanie Ryan: "the whole problem with "what if's" is that little word : - IF"

          I really would not like to live in a society that never considered "what ifs". Fortunately (in most cases) our law makers do and keep us a little safer from those members of society who don't.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: What if

            > I really would not like to live in a society that never considered "what ifs". Fortunately (in most cases) our law makers do and keep us a little safer from those members of society who don't.

            Thankfully, in the real world, we are charged with the real consequences of our actions, not what is possible or feasible.

            Otherwise, you would be in jail almost immediately after emerging from the uterus based on what ifs.

            The reaction to this incident is neither proportionate nor reasonable. There was no apparent intent to cause harm and there was no apparent actual harm. So the girl did something a little risky. She did do it outside and in a large open space. If she wanted to cause mischief then it would have been indoors and she would have taken steps to stay anonymous.

    4. senti

      "Might the story have been just a little different if the girl, or one of her mates, had got a nice eyeful of bleach and permanently lost her eyesight? It is not really as harmless as this article makes it appear.

      Even some of the vids on youtube comment about the damage this type of 'experiment' does to anything near by, simply because you are spraying a harmful corrosive substance around."


      Make sure to cut all the trees, drain all the rivers, hermetically close all drains, block all roads, prohibit cars and motocycles, forbid sports, ...

      I mean, someone might otherwise get hurt.

      I really can't undestand what the fuck happened with humans in past 20 years. It's as if whole race turned into retards overnight.

      1. hplasm

        It's the handwringing twats-

        that never did anything "dangerous" when they were young that are slowly turning this planet into fucking Vogsphere...

  9. Andres


    So, it's ok to own a gun (even a childrens gun, in pink) but you can't experiment with the mildest of chemical reactions. Maybe because there is no money in pandering to chemists whereas the NRA...

    What a messed up State.

    1. Narlaquin

      Re: Values

      Just in case anyone isn't aware of what Andres is referring to here:

      and the manufacturers website:

      And for the full British tut-tut:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Values

        The issue there was the parent's lack of supervision. Leaving a child alone with any dangerous "toy" is fucking stupid.

        The gun itself is irrelevant in a way. I saw my little cousin fall over and nearly stab herself in the eye with a plastic screwdriver which could easily have killed her given the length of the thing. I can think of any number of toys that could just as easily kill a child as a gun. In every case the lack of supervision is the issue.

        All that said, personally I wouldn't give a kid that age a gun. Even if I did I wouldn't let them touch it without my say-so and constant supervision. I certainly wouldn't let them play with it when I wasn't in the room.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Values

          I can think of any number of toys that could just as easily kill a child as a gun.

          Yeah, those toy shops are just full of toys where you pull a trigger and someone dies.

        2. Tom 35

          any number of toys that could just as easily kill a child as a gun.

          Total complete gun nut BS mr. AC.

          A gun you just need to point and pull the trigger and it can kill, even at a considerable distance. That's what it's made to do, it's primary purpose.

          No toy comes close (hell power tools don't even come close), toys can kill someone, but it requires real bad luck, or considerable effort. If a couple of kids get hurt with a toy it's likely to be banned right quick (think Lawn Darts for example).

        3. cortland

          Re: Values

          A bright child should never be left alone for a second, then. My shop-class rockets were too small, and unflyable. It was interesting to see the melted alumin(i)um puddle up, though.

          At 12 I was shooting holes in wallboard with a toroidal magnet (TV focus coil), electric train (N gauge for cognoscenti) transformer, and ball bearings. Neat! Was going to sequence more coils for velocity, but Dad and the landlord agreed I needed a less expensive recreation.

          And see Wikipedia on the childhood of Bernhard Schmidt.

      2. The BigYin

        Re: Values

        I have little issue with kids and guns (no, I don't own any or shoot).

        Kids killing kids with guns, that's an issue.

        But so is kids killing kids with anything really.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Values

          "I have little issue with kids and guns"

          Ah, apologies, didn't realise you were a fuckwit. Carry on.

      3. JulianB

        Re: Values

        Check out the photo of the home in the Sky News link. Somehow, it just fits the story perfectly.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: Check out the photo of the home

          Eating squirrel pie doesn't make you a lesser person.

    2. jelly

      Re: Values

      but you don't understand, on the gun there is a profit margin, on the coke bottle the profit is nil.

      not taxable = illegal.... hmm sounds familiar somehow <opens history of the church vol 1>

      1. historymaker118

        Re: Values

        I don't remember reading about taxes in the book of Acts.

        1. Irony Deficient

          early readings on taxes

          historymaker118, you’d probably need to start from the 2nd century AD, with St. Justin’s interpretation of what “rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” meant in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Values

      Actually, if she'd brought a plastic pink water pistol to school, she'd be in even worse shape. Schools you see are gun free zones.

  10. Kevin Johnston

    ah, schoolday 'pranks'

    The rage when I was at school was using crushed match heads in a rapidly closing volume such as a bolt in either end of a nut which was then thrown to add the final compression.

    Heard of one guy who favoured the old sugar/weedkiller in small tins with a length of Jetex fuse but that was going a bit far for most kids.

    Worst anyone suffered from the powers-that-be was the proverbial clip around the ear before being taken home to explain the events to their parents

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

      Match heads in Sparkler containers (that's going back a bit, 1980ish). Bloke nearly got them to take off. One did explode, round the back of 4th English room. Made quite a noise, but that room was on the other side of the car park for some reason so he stayed safe.

      The other day I tried some sodium chlorate/sugar mix. The inhibiters stop real excitement but worth a try for the fizzing, it's a bit unstable though for rocket fuel. Don't think you can get the sodium chlorate any more though.

      Interesting that is perfectly legal in the US to make your own rocket fuel, and schools do quite a lot of rocketry stuff I am lead to believe.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

        "Interesting that is perfectly legal in the US to make your own rocket fuel"

        Read the autobiographical "October Sky".

        Boy in a USA coal town gets interested in messing about with rockets - and thereby gets into a few scrapes. Finds he needs to do advanced maths to improve the thrust design - but school doesn't have that on the curriculum. He campaigns successfully for it to be added - but then just fails to make the cut for the limited number of places. Learns in his spare time from his friend who is on the course. To cut a long story short - ends up with a career at NASA.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

        It IS legal to make your own solid rocket fuel, but it's not easy and most rocketeers buy their motors from established manufacturers. The smallest motors use black powder and larger ones are based on ammonium perchlorate. To purchase the larger motors, you have to show your registration card that you have passed tests on theory and practice.

        It's sad that very few schools have rockery as part of a science program or as an after school club. It's safer than sports (actual statistics) when properly supervised and is a fun way of learning science and maths. I'm JUST a bit past school and still play with rockets. In fact, I've worked on real rockets partly due to the fun I had in the 6th grade in the rocketry club.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

      Not to mention:

      - Sugar and weedkiller, but not in small tins. The class pyromaniac favoured lengths of bicycle frame with the ends beaten over.

      - Potassium permanganate and glycerine, inside an empty desk. Began to burn about halfway through the lesson.

      - Acetylene from calcium carbide dropped into a bottomless oil can standing in water, then ignited through the hole in the top. Amazingly, in the 1960s bike shops still stocked calcium carbide for people to use in cycle lamps.

      - Iodine and ammonia. Anywhere.

      It sounds like Bash Street, but this was a grammar school in what was, according to New Society, the most middle-class town in Britain.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

        Oooo, I forgot the compo ration trick. Get a tin of sugar, drill/punch a hole in the top. Insert banger. Light banger, Retire to safe distance. No explosion but my god it makes a loud noise, and the tin ends up a funny shape. Some guy did that on a CCF weekend I was on (sorry Lake Windemere), teacher wandered over wondering what the noise was. Wasn't that bothered in the end since nobody was maimed.

        1. Reality Dysfunction
          Thumb Up

          Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

          ahh ccf pranks like making a small ditch full of meths around someones tent and lighting it

      2. Reality Dysfunction
        Thumb Up

        Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

        Dont forget filling the science class tap nozzles with tissue paper then putting them on full over a sink with a wooden lid and a hole, under the hole in sink would be a petri dish with a bit of reactive metal like sodium.

        wooden sink lid goes a few feet at least but there was no-one there..

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

        "The class pyromaniac favoured lengths of bicycle frame with the ends beaten over."

        The senior chemistry teacher was taking a class - while the small Upper VIth group were working on projects in the prep lab next door. One of the latter goes and asks for some concentrated acid off the reagent shelf. The teacher gives it to him. Then a bit later he returns and asks for glycerine - teacher hands it to him while still talking to the class. Then - mid-sentence - the teacher suddenly pauses, thinks about *who* had made the requests - and hurries into the prep lab. Sure enough 2+2 = 4.

        It was interesting at a School reunion to hear how many people's lives eventually panned out in line with their characters from puberty.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did all that... but...

        We did all the usual explosive experiments just out of sight of the school buildings (minor private school in the 70s); all those in my year took near-professional levels of care about doing it safely. (Someone in the year below mine did nearly blow his postman up with NI3 on the doormat, though. And was planning on a career as an RAF officer, don't know whether that's connected.) We really resented the IRA when they provoked the addition of flame retardants to sodium chlorate weedkiller.

        The school wasn't too happy with it (but what really pissed them off was when we built an 18-ft snow phallus with a pair of 4-ft snowballs on the playing fields; after that they made a new rule, "no building of snowmen in sight of the public road").

        All just normal schoolboy stuff. At least it warms my heart about improving gender equality to hear of a schoolgirl doing the same things; I don't think our sister school's pupils ever exploded stuff.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Did all that... but...

          "The school wasn't too happy with it (but what really pissed them off was when we built an 18-ft snow phallus with a pair of 4-ft snowballs on the playing fields; after that they made a new rule, "no building of snowmen in sight of the public road")."

          That would be a major crime these days. I mean it's wrong at all levels. I'm sure there must be some crime they could charge you under for playing with a snowman's c**k and ba**s.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Did all that... but...

            " I'm sure there must be some crime they could charge you under for playing with a snowman's c**k and ba**s"

            About five years ago Cambridge Police prosecuted a student for building a large classical phallus on one of the town's large snow-covered grassy areas.

            The British Museum are holding a lecture tomorrow entitled "Sex in Pompeii and Herculaneum". Quote: "Roman art contained overtly erotic images but also others with different relevance, encompassing humour, fertility and superstition. Images of phalluses, in particular, were everywhere in the cities – a lucky symbol to protect people, houses and businesses.". The Museum regards the lecture as suitable for those over the age of 11.

            See London Art News blog (NSFW image).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did all that... but...

          "All just normal schoolboy stuff."

          There is a story that a rather exclusive English prep school had an incident attributed to exposure to the book/film "Lord of the Flies". Fortunately the guttering collapsed under the weight of the small boy at the end of the noose. Apparently no one was expelled.

    3. C 18

      Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

      My friend decided to see 'what would happen' if he connected an old cube flashbulb to a nine volt battery (you know the stick it on your tongue for a buzz type)...

      Suffice to say we saw what happened, and not much else for a short while after.

      Oh the fun...

    4. Jim jimminy jim jim jim jim

      Re: ah, schoolday 'pranks'

      I refuse to comment on what we, as enterprising and resourceful boys got up to in the countryside around our school with sugar, weedkiller & jetex. it has nothing to do with deforming the terrain around a local brook, not the unusual disappearance of a footbridge....

  11. BWM

    Quickly! Check the state prosecutor's home!

    Perhaps she has a pressure cooker in her kitchen. Using her logic, that should be sufficient to charge her with terrorism.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Quickly! Check the state prosecutor's home!

      Or a car... Aka a weapon of mass destruction in the supermarket car-park (well she is female!).


      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Re: Quickly! Check the state prosecutor's home!


        1. Anonymous Coward 15

          Re: Quickly! Check the state prosecutor's home!


  12. Nigel 11

    Bloody ridiculous

    When I was at school we were making similar devices - under the guidance of our Chemistry teacher! He also showed us a nice gas/air explosion in a cocoa tin, and a flour/air conflagration in a drainpipe. Lesson learned: even "harmless" substances can be dangerous if you don't understand the risks.

    the USA is evolving from a land of can-do spirit to a land where nothing is allowed unless explicitly permitted. Sad.

    1. Cpt Blue Bear
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bloody ridiculous

      My high school chem teacher* taught us how to make black powder, gun cotton and touch powder after we ran out of curriculum two months short of running out out of term. The last on the basis that some of us would probably try anyway and it was safer if it was him who showed us rather than we tried to figure it out from a dodgey recipe. I still remember his advice on the subject: never make more than a teaspoon at a time because that way you'll still have one good hand to dial the hospital (say it deadpan in a Dutch accent for best effect). The experimental application was the destruction of flies on the window sill...

      We put his gunpowder recipe to good use making skyrockets but quickly discovered that Goex was both more powerful and more reliable.

      The other uses we put his lessons to I won't go into to in order to protect the extremely guilty (but laughing like maniacs) but here's a hint: sulfuric acid and a cafe sugar dispenser...

      In those days we used to buy our ingredients over the counter at a local chemical wholesaler. The only request that even raised an eyebrow was for half a litre of fuming nitric acid. Those were the days...

      * A charming but crazy Dutchman

  13. Shagbag

    Proof positive...

    ...that the arresting officer should be replaced with a robot and the State Attorney sent back to Nuremberg for re-trial.

  14. ISYS

    Lester look out

    Judging by your latest report on your quid a day diet and the state of your bowels it seems you may be in possession of an AMD - an Arse of Mass Destruction!

  15. g e

    Stupid Fucking Americans

    Not the ones blessed with that rarest of virtues, common sense, of course.

    Just the Stupid Fucking Americans that even think embarking on a judicial course of action such as this for a kid's pop-bottle experiment is even within three galaxies of sane. I truly hope that principal's underling gets a torch-n-pitchfork experience this weekend, commensurate with their retarded life-view.

    God forbid they'd have a magnifying glass on a sunny day. It's people like this that make your country look like a bunch of backward nutters who'd still wave sticks at an eclipse. Get it sorted.

  16. Dan Paul

    Just like you Lewis!

    Lewis, as a child, I made my first batch of black gunpowder when I was 13. I did not get the proportions correct as it was a fizzle, not a bang. The father of a childhood friend took us aside as he was a chemist and said that he did not want to stifle our creativity but wanted instead to give us lessons in safe preparation. That was due to his own precocious experimentation at the same age with making gunpowder that eventually lead to him becoming a Harvard educated PHD Chemist with several patents . This man became a lifetime mentor and friend. When he developed Alzheimers late in life, I was so sad to see such brilliant mind wasting away. God rest his soul! It is too bad that there are not more people like him in this sick world.

    I became an engineer in part due to his tutelage and my proclivities.

    The problem with people like these so called educators is that their fears and doubts and their overly emotional upbringing contaminate their thinking and thus their teaching process. Their F.U.D. is exacerbated wildly by the media and the overly protective busybodies that land in the Social Services & Education fields.

    They "think" they are doing the "right" thing by calling the police. What they did was to literally kill this young womans chances at life when no harm was caused or intended.

    This is why all children that exhibit any kind of independence, or intelligence need to be removed from the general education system as early as possible so they do not become ruined by the shortcomings of the "Indoctrination System". Let them become Scientists, Engineers and Leaders of Men and let the rest become the sheep their "teachers" train them to be.

    What this girl did was no worse than a 7 grade science experiment and now she is a "criminal" for life.

    I say that any prosecutor that proceeds with this case needs to be removed from office and banned from the legal profession, made homeless and broke . Frankly the assistant principal needs to be burned as a witch.

    I have "zero tolerance" for morons like them and their supporters. Death to Ignorance and Stupidity!

    1. g e

      Re: Just like you Lewis!

      My first experiment with sulphur, salt petre and carbon was a fizzle too.

      Then I realised one day that mixing by _weight_, not volume in the 75-15-10 ratio I'd read about was more effective ;o)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just like you Lewis!

        Yep I started out just the same and ended up becoming a biochemist.

        However one of my friends wasn't quite so lucky with his experiments and now he can only count to 8 1/2.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Ralph B

    That Ass. Principal

    Just in case you want to see the face of the future ex-Assistant Principal of Bartow High School who called the cops, here he is.

    I wonder if he's smiling so much now though.

    1. Dramoth

      Re: That Ass. Principal

      Thats a face belonging to someone most likely to go postal after a bad day with a bunch of normal kids...

      1. Alien Doctor 1.1

        Re: That Ass. Principal

        Isn't that Meatloafs' passport photo?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That Ass. Principal

        Looks like a w*r and acts like a w*r, ergo

        Clearly in need of some education himself.

        Sure was nice of the webmaster to provide his email address. Maybe someone should send him a link to this register article..... a heh- a heh

        AC for obvious reasons,

    2. James Hughes 1

      Re: That Ass. Principal


    3. jelly

      Re: That Ass. Principal

      looks like a defoliated monkey if you ask me......

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: That Ass. Principal

      Say, you got purdy lips...

  19. wowfood

    wait but...

    I swear we used to do this at school. Actually that's a lie, I know we did. We had loads of these experiments. Hell the experiment she pulled off was one our teacher TOLD US to try. Well he didn't so much tell us as explain after doing a similar experiment with water and sodium. "You can do this at home on a much smaller scale by adding X to Y" I mean, isn't is basically the same as the baking soda / vinegar mix in a bottle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait but...

      In the early 1960s the junior Chemistry teacher at our Secondary Technical School took a class of 13 year olds to the lawn outside the laboratory to demonstrate an exothermic reaction. The idea was that a thermite mixture would be ignited with a magnesium strip.

      As it was a windy day the class had to form a tight scrum round the chemical pile to stop the teacher's match blowing out. Every time the match flame touched the magnesium the scrum skittered away - and the wind blew it out. After some coaxing, of boys and match, a cloud of smoke successfully billowed into the air.

  20. Denier

    Come on!

    They did let the five year old boy off who shot and killed his two year old sister

    (with his own "children's " rifle),0,2768797.story

    That shows they are not completely bonkers!

    ....or maybe they are?

    1. Narlaquin

      By all means let the 5 year old off. He is a minor, he didn't know any better. He doesn't understand what he's done, or why his baby sister isn't around anymore.

      But the parents? Letting an unsupervised child play with a loaded rifle? That is a crime.

  21. Dave in the States

    Common Sense...

    It isn't anymore. Common, that is. Rather than use a bit of common sense and handling the situation rationally, the school official got the police involved. Just plain stupid.

    Just this morning I read a story about a 5 year old who killed his 2 year old sister with a 22 caliber rifle he'd received as a GIFT! What sane person gives a small child his own firearm? The mother (I use the term loosely) , who stepped out of the room for a moment, didn't know the gun was loaded. Did I mention the gun was "stored" by leaning it against the wall in a corner?

    For some reason the phrase "Going to Hell in a hand basket" comes to mind.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Common Sense...

      There is still a lot of common sense about, I see it all around me every day. I see morons too, of course, but they are in somewhat shorter supply. Modern communication technology just means you hear about the morons much quicker. Do not forget, people being sensible is not something that sells papers, or generates clicks on adds.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Learning...'s a crime!

    1. Huntsman

      Re: Learning...

      Careful now!

  23. Haku

    I used to use a Lego 12v transformer to split water into hydrogen & oxygen when I was a kid, at home, collecting the hydrogen in a test tube and lighting it for the 'pop'. Even taking a corked test tube filled with the hydrogen into school once or twice, god knows what the reaction from teachers nowadays would be if a kid did that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hydrogen you say?

      As everyone knows, H-Bombs are built with hydrogen. Which means you possess the ability to make weapons of mass destruction. Expect the party van at your door soon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better if you put both electrodes in the vessel, you get a stoichiometrically correct mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. Also if the vessel is a 500ml pop bottle, you can collect more mixture. And if you've prepped the lid of the pop bottle with two pins to carry current, the bulb from a flash cube and lots of vaseline to seal everything, then you're, um, cooking with gas.

  24. Mad Mike


    Hasn't the Department of Homeland Security (or whatever they're called) got involved. After all, this is a bombing at a school isn't it? Send in the SWAT teams, called in Delta Force, SEALs etc.etc. Next stop, Guantanamo in an orange jumpsuit and plenty of 'bracelets'. That'll teach these terrorists. Better be ready for the waterboarding..............

    Sorry, for a second there, I thought I was an assistant principal at a school in Florida. Just realised I'm actually an IT guy in a sane country.

    Given the comments of the principal, you have question a couple of things.

    1) If he recruited this t**t, why did he not notice the tendency towards stupidity in the interview process? If I recruited someone like this, I would be too embarrassed to show my face.

    2) How long has the bloke got before becoming unemployable and looking for work? (Assistant principal that is)

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Terrorist

      Well, given the thumbs up and thumbs down on this site, there would appear to be at least one f**kwit American reading this forum as sensible postings about her not being a terrorist or other subversive are being downvoted, mostly once. If we'd found the only one in the USA, I could handle it, but I strongly suspect there are loads more lurking where this one came from.

      It would seem that common sense, proportion, intelligence etc. are all words that don't translate from English into Americanish.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Terrorist

        Yep, noticed the same. Even the most measured posts are receiving thumbs down from somebody. Not necessarily an American though, there are plenty of idiots on either side of the big pond. Idiocy is very democratic in that sense

      2. cortland

        Re: Terrorist

        Here's an upvote from the US for you, then.

        You don't' need the Anarchists Cookbook to scare people; a little audience fear, some imagination, and explaining what can be done with things under the kitchen sink can get you on someone's watch list, if only your (former) girlfiend's Mum.

        I am a suspect character;

        No one knows what I do,

        No one can prove a thing,

        Not even you.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >She and a school pal, in common with most teenagers around the world at some stage in their careers, mixed up some common household products in a plastic bottle

    How long before the Reddit vigilante witchhunt thread?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look, they have a comments page

    Do you think we should?

  27. Daggersedge

    As I thought....

    A quick search found the girl's race: she's black. No surprise. What does that have to do with anything, you ask?

    Well, in many places in the States, due to the meddling of do-gooders, minority students, that is blacks and hispanics, mainly, cannot simply be sent to dentention or have some other, similar in-school discipline taken against them. This is because the do-gooders decided that minority students were being disciplined more than white students, so there are limits to how many minority students can be disciplined by the school over a period of time. What, then, is the school to do when a minority student misbehaves after that quota has been met? There's only one thing it can do, and that's to call the police. So, instead of just being in trouble with the school, this so-called oppressed minority student now gets a criminal record.

    The do-gooders don't care that they have actually made the situation worse. At any rate, they can use the 'disproportionate rate of minority arrests' to further bolster their cause, which, as anyone sane knows, is to make money for themselves. The race industry makes some people very rich.

    Oh, and the other thing her race has to do with it: the protest. Her 'community' needs to flex its muscles a bit in order to get more special favours, money, etc. Do you think this story would have even made the local press if the student had been a boy and white?

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: As I thought....

      So you're saying that liberal do-gooders made the police arrest her and the state prosecute her?

      Fucking liberal do-gooders; always being liberal and doing good!

      Back in the good old days they wouldn't have to, 'cause the KKK would have stopped her going to school!

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: As I thought.... @Daggersedge

      I suspect her colour has something to do with it, but not in the way you mean. If this had been a white person at the school, you are right, nothing would have been done, but that is because it is "normal" for white people to experiment. I can't get out of my mind that this is down to her being "an uppitty ******" (yes, that's six letters, you can work it out - don't think people don't still use the term).

  28. James O'Shea

    Damn foolishness

    Way, way, _way_ back, in Ye Dawne Of Time, several of my cousins (hey, we're Catholic, there's a whole bunch of us) and a few of our friends were seriously into model rocketry. Well, store-bought rocket motors cost too bloody much, so we made our own: solid fuel, mostly black powder. it took a while to work out the correct way to make milled powder (flour powder doesn't work nearly as well) but our success with that inspired us to greater heights: liquid-fueled rockets. Our first (and last) liquid-fueled rocket had a slight accident on the launch pad. It turned out that our fuel and oxidiser were a tad more hypergolic than we'd thought. After that we were grounded, literally, for six months.

    In retrospect it's amazing that any of us lived past 14.

    Explosion 'cause that's what happened to the liquid fueled rocket. See also

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damn foolishness

      You would find the autobiographical book "October Sky" very nostalgic. He went on to NASA.

  29. Crisp

    Sounds like Kiera Wilmot was doing science!

    A kid learning science in an american school? No wonder the state wants to prosecute her to the full extent of the law!

    1. Stevie

      Re: Sounds like Kiera Wilmot was doing science!

      Not American School, *Floridian School*.

      Your thesis will never be taken seriously until you understand that each state is like unto a small country, with its own rules and its own "national" character.

      It's like you never even *saw* Deliverance.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Floridian

        United States of America, one Nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all - guilty as charged.

        Which is a pity, given the huge number of intelligent, sane, sensible and warm hearted people there are over there.

  30. Tom 7

    My best ever career choice

    was not to go and work in the states - I'd worked there a bit and decided that I couldn't cope with their pretend-to-work-ethic. I now know why they sit around in the office pretending to work 14 hours a day - its not to worm their way up the career ladder, its to avoid going out into society in general.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zero Tolerance

    The underlying problem here is almost certainly the "zero tolerance" regulations that US schools have over weapons etc .... so if its classified as a weapon and you have it on school property then you are automatically expelled with no possibility of appeal on mitigating factors or past behaviour. And if the Assistant Principal became aware of what had happened I expect he'd be under duty to report this to the police because if you allow any leeway for personal judgement etc of the situation then the school would be wide open to future lawsuits on the basis that "you didn't report that white middle class girl whereas with this black working class boy you went straight to the police" and before you know it Al Sharpton will be outside your gates.

    I lived in the US for 3 years in late 90s and every few months there would be a case in the papers of some top student at a school who was being expelled because they'd inadvertenly violated the no weapons rule - couple of case I recall were one where a student's mother had borrowed his school bag to carry a family picnic at the weekend and left a kitchen knife in it - student found knife and immediately reported this and was immediately expelled. Second case student had used his pickup truck to help an elderly relative to move flats - failed to notice a knife had fallen out of one of the boxes and was lying in back of truck - this was seen by school "security" and again student immediately expelled.

    Zero tolerance is a great idea ... until you hit the cases where 1% tolerance is needed!

    1. TomChaton

      Re: Zero Tolerance

      Zero tolerance is anathema to rational thought.

    2. Johan Bastiaansen

      Re: Zero Tolerance

      Rules and procedures are a great idea.

      If you don't have a brain.

      If you do, they're shit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zero Tolerance

        I agree. This is not "zero tolerance", this is hysteria. If the students honestly did not even know they "carried" a knife, how can you expel them?

        We had something along these lines as well: A guy who was training as a volunteer firefighter carried surplus bandages on him in school and was very well liked for it. Of course, he had scissors on him as well. At one point, a parent new to the school became agitated that he "carried a weapon". It took our headmaster a lot of effort to calm done the ensuing nonsense ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Zero Tolerance

          "Rules are for the obedience of fools - and the guidance of wise men."

          Attributed to Douglas Bader.

          What is interesting is that the web source for that has 3 upvotes - and 2 downvotes.

          British society seems to be becoming more than ever "letter of the law" rather than "spirit of the law" - both in enforcement and avoidance/evasion.

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: Zero Tolerance

            Black-letter law is the bane of civilisation. Any claiming otherwise should not be left in charge of anything more complicated than bag of sweets.

    3. virhunter
      Thumb Up

      Re: Zero Tolerance

      I totally agree. I have long thought that schools (or any institutions for that matter) with "zero-tolerance" policies should have their administration budgets cut by 50%. We pay administrators to administrate, and a greater part of administration is making decisions using one's own judgment. Zero-tolerance takes away that responsibility, so they obviously take a pay cut since they are not doing their jobs.

  32. Reality Dysfunction
    Thumb Up

    Kids these days...

    When I was small child we limited ourselves to red smoke bombs ( joke shop ones) in the air intakes for the local swimming pool and inventive things to do with British Rail emergency track signals ( you will only hold onto them while trying to lever the lead strap off once)

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. 0laf Silver badge


    I had friends with firearms licenses.

    Rat nest + can of butane + tracer ammo (yes you can buy that for a .22).

    Big boom on farm.

  35. Lyndon Hills 1
    Thumb Up

    Should be encouraged, not punished

    Shows curiosity and initiative. Noone got hurt, what's the problem? Where do they think scientists of the future are going to come from?

    1. Mephistro

      Re: Should be encouraged, not punished

      "Where do they think scientists of the future are going to come from?"


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    School website below..

    Anyone feel the need to email the Principal whos email is on the main page and tell him to grow up and let kids be kids.... I mean come on.. This is america, where they give a 5 year old a gun so he can shoot his little sister, but a kid a school follows a few youtube vids in the hope something funny with happen gets this treatment... some people need to get a grip on life.

    1. Dan Paul

      Why be anonymous! Email them all!!!

      I have just emailed the principal and two local newspapers telling them what I thought of the schools ignorance and stupidity.

      The rest of you El Reg readers should also.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a bigger bang

    I did bit of 'chemistry' as a teenager. But by far the best was plugging a large electrolytic capacitor direct into the mains. On the end of a very long lead.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: a bigger bang

      I did that inadvertently once as a teenager. Power supply for an 807 PA on my HF transmitter. Forgot to allow the 1.4 multiplier for the big electrolytic's voltage rating. Wondered what the sizzling noise was - and why the DC voltage was steadily dropping. Luckily the capacitor's metal container channelled the steam powered paper and aluminium foil vertically. Smeared the wall a few inches in front of my head.

  38. SirDigalot

    zero tolerance

    Americans understand guns, they love guns, guns are safe... a lot of them do not understand science, it is scary and contradicts their bibles.

    *speaking as an American and a Floridian (sadly I chose to become an American but hey guns are pretty darn cool, science is also cool, and so are bowties, and fez)

    The zero tolerance thing is stupid, and down there they do like the throw the book at certain people because I think they are bored, yet others get away with heinous things.

    Daniel tosh said it best about Florida - "it is hot flat and dumb"

    1. Tom 13

      Re: zero tolerance

      I've found that it is usually the Americans who love their bibles and their guns who also love science. It's the ones who hate/fear guns and God who also fear science and worst of all not conforming to non-conformist standards.

      1. SirDigalot

        Re: zero tolerance

        really? that's interesting because there is a whole bunch of them down trying to get creationism in schools and evolution banned, and the right to take their guns anywhere, and they also think vaccinating your child is bad too... I have lived in the Midwest and now the south there is a massive difference between the too they are worlds apart... remember a woman cannot get pregnant if she does not want to...and the earth is 6000 years old yes those are the same nutters who do not want any legislation on guns because it is their right... at least in the Midwest they attempt to use facts.

  39. Sarah Davis
    Paris Hilton

    Independent Learning Forbidden

    surely they should fine and fire the assistant principal, and caution the policeman to use his brain in future - what planet did this happen on, or was it a cartoon ?

  40. Dazed and Confused

    F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

    Who claimed to have blown the windows out of the science lab in his previous school.

    In my lessons he managed to set fire to the top of the fume cupboard.

    And there was the wonderful "OH SHIT THAT'S THE WRONG COLOUR" incident when dropping a piece from the bottle marked Sodium into the beaker of water. Lilac is such a lovely colour and no one died when it part of the experiment exploded several feet above the desk.

    1. Roger 17

      Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

      MY high school chemistry teacher showed us the thermite reaction. No accident but three foot flames and the entire science building full of smoke. We never forgot that demonstration.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

        MY high school chemistry teacher showed us the thermite reaction.

        How do you think he set fire to the fume cupboard.

        No1 son was jutted when he heard that when I went to school the termite reaction was done live in the classroom. These days they're boring and watch a video, and they could find far more interesting videos on YouTube.

        1. Helldesk Dogsbody

          Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

          Mine had us demonstrating the thermite reaction in pairs throught the lab, alkanes involved an overzealous sampling of methane from a gas tap next to a lit spill creating a jet of flame across the lab, toluene and a nitrating mix with insufficient cooling resulted in a rather careful but rapid exit for the class, sodium was a lovely chrysanthemum shaped bloom on the ceiling tiles and some missing eyebrows, the list goes on but this was prior to COSHH. We learned from our mistakes and everyone knew what to do in cases of emergency as they occurred about once a fortnight. Minor injuries, a few interesting scars and a healthy respect for what we were dealing with was the result.

          Outside of school included experimentation in to the feasibility of explosive tipped hollow point air rifle rounds amongst many other less sane projects.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

            "alkanes involved an overzealous sampling of methane from a gas tap next to a lit spill creating a jet of flame across the lab, toluene and a nitrating mix with insufficient cooling resulted in a rather careful but rapid exit for the class".

            Oh dear - this does take me back....

            What was the trick of introducing an airlock into a bunsen that would eventually extinguish someone else's flame?

            An experiment with ether in a beaker. The vapour gradually crept invisibly across the bench until it reached a neighbour's lit bunsen - just like a fuse trail.

            Heating toluene - caught fire and large oily black particles drifted over every surface in the lab.

            One lad spilled a beaker of an acidic reaction on his smart nylon lab coat which just morphed into a white plastic mess. Old fashioned cotton ones were much safer.

            Several times chemistry teachers stood in front of their desk to lecture the class. Then a smell of burning announced a large brown streak up the back of their jacket from the always lit bunsen on their bench.

            The VIth Form making chromium dichromate - the final step was allowing the excess water to slowly evaporate over several days. Just when it was expected to be dry the beaker was mysteriously filled with water. Apparently the senior Chemistry master had lost his nerve over what can spontaneously happen when it gets very dry.

            The VIth Form trying to making nylon by passing nitrogen over something (amide?) heated in a tube. A lad's father worked for BOC and had arranged for a large cylinder of nitrogen to be delivered. A piece of rope round a tall tap kept it upright against the bench. As the experiment started a foul gas came out of the rubber tube attached to the end of the apparatus. Quick thinking stuffed the tube end down the sink waste hole - problem solved. This was in the small prep room - the next thing was a class being evacuated from the main lab as the fumes re-emerged from all their sinks. It never did produce any nylon though - only the "nylon rope trick" did that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

          Our junior Chemistry teacher was sensible. We did the thermite exothermic reaction demonstration on the lawn outside the lab. The only problem was that his windbreak scrum of a class of 13 year olds kept skittering away every time he applied the match flame to the magnesium. He eventually coaxed the scrum and match to produce the impressive results with a large cloud of white smoke.

          He also lined us up against the lab's side wall for safety - and wrapped the large whisky bottle in his lab coat - before igniting a coalgas/air flame the length of the room.

          He, and the next junior Chemistry teacher, both managed to split a pneumatic trough into two sides and a bottom. The timid small piece of sodium didn't turn affect the litmus paper - so a larger lump was used. Much fizzing and sparks followed by a loud bang - and the classroom echoed with boyish cheers.

          Judging by these comments there seem to be certain initiation rites for new Chemistry teachers.

          1. Cpt Blue Bear

            Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

            " The timid small piece of sodium didn't turn affect the litmus paper - so a larger lump was used. Much fizzing and sparks followed by a loud bang - and the classroom echoed with boyish cheers."

            My chem teacher demonstrated the sodium-water reaction in front of us on an overhead projector so we could all see. He'd have had us doing it in pairs (the usual arrangement, I presume so that there was some to help the vicitim) but the school couldn't afford it. The small piece of rather elderly sodium failed to impress so he fished it out, scraped the oxidisation and wax off with his thumb nail and tossed it back in. MUCH more impressive.

            Supposedly they watch videos now. We seem to be turning into a society that watches things rather than doing them. Like porn and cooking...

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: My chem teacher demonstrated the sodium-water reaction in front of us

              Mine tossed a large lump into the outdoor swimming pool while we watched from the balcony. The sodium propelled itself around the pool a couple of times then sat fizzling until it expired with a loud bang.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: F*&^ knows what they'd have done with my chemistry teacher

          " These days they're boring and watch a video, "

          On a rare School reunion about ten years ago the old boys from the 1960s had a guided tour round the old campus labs and workshops.

          The Chemistry lab initially looked much the same - with the roller blackboard behind the teacher's large podium bench with a sink and bunsen. However the rows of pupils' benches facing the teacher had been replaced by little pod desks that the kids sat round. There were no sinks or bunsens for the kids - and only a quarter of them could watch a teacher's demonstration without turning round. No fume cupboards, no reagent shelves, and no periodic charts on the wall. How uninspiring it all appeared.

          The only specialist room that hadn't really changed was the gym. However there was much speculation as to whether the kids were allowed to climb to the high ceiling on the ropes. The horizontal beams were probably not lowered from the ceiling very often either. They had added a weights area - which seemed to effectively prevent the efficient circulation of a class through the showers after PE/games. On the other hand a quick spray of Lynx seems to be all that is required these days. Our fathers had the modern pithead showers - although Friday night at home still needed the tin bath to be fetched from the coalshed. After using a cold hose in the old school - the hot showers in the new school were a luxury that made up for no underwear, thermal or otherwise, while playing on a frozen football pitch.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good grief I must be on their most wanted list...

    Fizzy pop and mint - Check

    Buying French bangers on school trips, coring an apple, inserting the banger to make an apple grenade - Check

    Deodorant can on top of a fire (inside a metal bin so it could only go up) - Check

    Unopened can of beans on a camp fire when nobody was looking - Check

    (The last one was particularly messy, and probably really was a bit danagerous... Hell I was 14!).

    Anon because I'm obviously a fugative.

    It was the one armed man I tell you...!

    1. Don Constance
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good grief I must be on their most wanted list...

      French bangers on Scout trip to Jersey, inside steel tent pole, great fun for all - well apart from Dave who got shot in the knackers by the plastic plug ejected from the other end of the tent pole :-)

      Yes, done the beans one too.

      Wish we had put the aerosol can inside a metal bin, good job we had quick reactions back then!

  42. MissingSecurity


    Beside this being completely fucking stupid and yes I live in American, AND I am not surprised), I always have issue with "online petitions". It's truly her community up in arms signing this, than they should get off their asses, and do some real protesting.

    Every time I see an online petition I think "Hey, a piece of Electronic BS, that no one will pay attention to, has not affect, and will be largely ignored by history."

  43. Don Jefe

    Principals & Prosecutors

    The people who grow up to fill those roles are the same kids that were scared of their own shadow & never learned to have any fun. If anything I think this should be a lesson on how it is crucial to let children have fun, otherwise you end up with a bunch of cowards in positions of power who are still 'hiding under their beds', scared of everything & expecting someone else to 'protect' them.

  44. BornToWin

    A very bad decision

    This was a very bad decision by the student.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: A very bad decision

      Has it occurred to you that we are on the *fifth* page of comments and you've still accrued 8 downvotes? That fact alone shows that you are probably the Assistant Principal concerned.

  45. Johan Bastiaansen

    Anybody involved in this decison

    should be castrated. We can not allow them to breed. Darwin commands this.

    The higher they are in the chain of command, the larger and rustier the knife has to be.

  46. Stevie


    And yet, in that very state one can shoot an unarmed person and get off scot-free if one can make a convincing claim that they felt the now-dead completely unarmed "assailant" was threatening one's life.

    Of course it helps if various stereotypes are at work reinforcing one's claim in people's minds.

    I took a mental walk along this fetid towpath and concluded that the (female) kid should have shot the (older male) assistant principal. A brief investigation, some witchhunt-style innuendo and no more would have been said.

  47. Florida1920

    If she'd painted a cross on the bottle and said a prayer before setting it off they'd be renaming the school after her.

  48. Troy Peterson

    It's hard not to feel like we're doomed as a species to a future of boring mediocrity and sameness... The movie Idiocracy is a chilling preview of where we are heading...

    How many adult scientists and engineers today didn't blow the occasional thing up as a kid? I doubt there are any. I used to experiment with a lot of things as a kid and had a few incidents... But it was worth it. I'm only 30, but now looking back at building rockets and tesla coils when I was 12 I think that today a kid today with a passion for science has a better chance of being accused as a radical terrorist rather than the potential Einstein that they may be.

    Can you imagine seeing something like this today? It's a shame that I missed the 50s.



    1. Narlaquin
      Thumb Up

      Have an upvote on me!

      That link was just awesome!

      <goes hunting on eBay for a Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab>

    2. Dan Paul

      Idiocracy is right on the mark...Death to Ignorance!


      As an American, I completely agree with you that the movie Idiocracy is not fiction it's prediction. I'll go one further by saying that the characters in the movie are not all that different than the people that are teaching our youth today, especially in poorer school districts and quite obviously in Southern Schools.

      Your statement about how a "kid today with a passion for science has a better chance of being accused as a radical terrorist rather than the potential Einstein that they may be" is sadly more truthful than anyone could expect.

      I posted a while back in this thread regarding how I was given direction and inspiration by the father of a childhood friend. My son is now 30 and I tried to offer him the same kind of offbeat educational experiences that I had and he has done well for himself. He and his lovely wife made me a proud Grandpa. They are both very free thinkers and have already suffered from their unwillingness to tolerate religious BS.

      Oh, the price we pay, we few that can see through the injustices and stupidity of the rest of the world....and arent afraid to speak the truth. If only the truth could actually set you free instead of ruining your career.

      I can only hope that our childrens children can escape from the clutches of the mentally and emotionally retarded people that now make up our "education" and "justice" system.

      There is a place in Hell that burns all the hotter for those teachers who can only inspire further mediocrity and those in the legal "profession" who let emotions rule over logic and reason.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That brings back memories

      I grew up in an outback town in New South Wales. Not having TV, and having no friends nearby, I amused myself by building increasingly powerful radio transmitters. I used vacuum tubes salvaged from old receivers, and wound my own coils. The worst that happened was an exploding electrolytic capacitor, and a 300 volt jolt from an anode.

      Although my activities were illegal, I was never in any danger of being arrested. I also used to make my own explosives, and when I was 16 I walked into a department store and bought a .22 rifle without producing any ID. I got my driver's licence by driving once around the block. Strangely, despite all this rampant social irresponsibility (both by me and by the government of the day), nobody died.

      Frankly I miss the freedom, and I feel sorry for today's youth because although they have much more, they can do far less.

  49. arctic_haze

    Racist factor?

    Only one person noticed the girl race (black). But I disagree with Daggersedge to the meaning of this factoid.

    Somehow I have this sneaking suspicion that she would not be expelled if she were white.

    1. Pat Volk

      Re: Racist factor?

      I am reminded of a joke... What's the difference between northern racists and souther racists? Northern racists don't mind blacks getting uppity, as long as they don't live next door. Southern racists don't mind blacks living next door, as long as they don't get uppity. Methinks this girl just got designated as 'uppity'...

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Racist factor?

        Apologies, folks - I made almost exactly the same points in almost the same words in response to comments earlier because I was afraid no-one else was going to. I didn't mean to steal your thunder.

  50. John Sturdy

    What would she have got if she had thrown a triangular flapjack at someone?

    What would she have got if she had thrown a triangular flapjack at someone? Death row?


    Perhaps Bartow High School and Castle View School should set up a twinning arrangement.

  51. sisk

    REALLY? We're going to ruin the life of a promising young student over tinfoil and toilet cleaner in a soda bottle? May I please have a plane ticket to Florida to slap some sense into an assistant principal, some cops, and a state prosecutor?

    Also, for the record, many of the "capacious prisons of the USA" are already terribly overcrowded. No comment on the reasons other than to say we have a lot of people in prison whom we, as a society, would be better served to put someplace else. (Rehab centers for drug addicts, house arrest for non-violent offenders, and mental hospitals for the just plain disturbed come to mind.)

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in the day

    Back in the day my science teacher was always making explosives with us as part of the curriculum. On one occasion he was making up gunpowder in a pestle and mortar and struck a spark - cue column of fire and he lost an eyebrow. We all thought it was epic until the Head came in with some prospective parents (giving them the show around) and had to explain the black mark on the ceiling, smoke and all of us running for cover. Parents sent their kid to our school because they though it was great too. Probably a bit of a mistake considering my science teacher was later banged up for 8 years for being a paedophile.

  53. Fading

    My A-level chemistry project was on...

    some of the more exotic substances to make explosions from....

    If this is how the world is going to be can someone stop it so I can get off?

  54. Select * From Handle


    Did she just get expelled for a mentos in coke experiment?

  55. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Doing science while black

    As a Florida resident, it's pretty obvious a white child wouldn't have had a problem. People are incredibly racist around here. Icon for what deserves to be done to the place.

  56. Jemma

    I think I'm...

    Going to set up a sponsorship charity for all the burmese pythons in the everglades so there is a predator big enough to deal with ask the darwin award nominees in florida. Having had the joys of Georgia I'll bet money its to do with her colour. The highlight of my trip there was sitting on a chambered 9mm beretta left with the safety off around a 3 year old girl. They didn't understand why I went borderline berserk over the fact I could of been killed! Then theres the nice omaha racist I visited. Went for a wander and started chatting to some very polite & friendly black guys (Im so pale I burn under a 100w bulb) - my friend came out of her house like the charge of the light brigade howling that theyd murder me on the spot. Talk about cultural cringe. Racism is part of the culture out there along with gutless v8s and aircooled teeth.

  57. The Alpha Klutz

    school is quickly becoming the most dangerous place for a child to be. if theyre not being expelled or given a criminal record, theyre being filled with innumerable lies and misinformation by teachers who do the bare minimum to pass the tests and collect their pay cheques. academia is not important to anyone outside of academia. it's a God damn fact. maybe one in several hundred teachers cares about their pupils and that's a hugely generous estimate.

  58. Sil

    USA at its best

    It's really not ok to play with a bottle, it's almost an act of terrorism.

    On the other hand it's much better to belong to a firearm's club at 5 and get a customized for children gun, it's a patriotic constitutional right and of course there is no risk whatsoever to blow your sister's head.

  59. Kevin Johnston

    I tried to resist but....

    it's all just fun and games until someone loses an eyebrow...

    ....then it's SCIENCE

    Thank you Mythbusters

  60. Gordon 11

    They cannot be serious...

    I remember breaking the greenhouse at school (1969) with gunpowder made in the Chemistry lesson (there was a good(ish) reason we did this, but I forget what that was now).

    And the greenhouse was about 100 yards away.

    Not powerful gunpowder, but the teacher was worried about how to dispose of what was left and suggest sprinkling it over the nettles at the end of the field. So four of us set of to do that. This involved walking past the greenhouse on a path with a sharp incline, and one of us (probably me) put his shoulder through an overhanging pane. Last day before the Christmas break, so needed an urgent fix.

    We had to order a new pane from the local glazier (on the school account) fetch it, and fix it that day,

    That was all....

  61. Lotaresco

    Dumbed down school ,dumber police

    Some time ago a white female student at a school in a remarkably similar experiment mixed bleaching powder and hydrochloric acid to make a solution that would remove ink from a woodent floor.

    Margaret Hilda Roberts.

    On that occasion the authorities didn't clap her in irons, despite one of her fellow students choking on the chlorine gas produced.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    Hydrogen Bombs...

    Chemistry teacher at my school was fond of making them - fill a ballon with hydrogen, attach a fuse, light and release.

    Better send for the police, he was obviously training the next generation of terrorists.

  63. heyrick Silver badge

    And in other news...

    ...five year old kid with a "My First Rifle" murders his little sister (the media likes the phrase "fatally wounded", but I tend to think of aim-shoot-bang as plain and simple murder (accidental, perhaps, but she's still a corpse)).

    Icon says it all.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  64. Anonymous Coward

    Thank God she didn't mix Mentos and Diet Coke!!

    Won't somebody think of the children!!

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pushing it over 24K

    I signed it because I spent much of my secondary education trying to work out how to blow the top off a soda bottle and failing to achieve that lofty goal. I feel this girl is worthy of my 14 year old self's respect.

  66. Charles 9

    I have to wonder if a whole bunch of students were to display a show of solidarity and repeat the experiment en masse, creating a unique form of student strike. I don't know about you, but I don't think any school board will be very inclined to expel a sizable chunk of any school's population.

  67. Grogan Silver badge

    In America, they are desperate to flex their muscles. All of these small minded cunts that they have placed in positions of authority.

    Even a teenager working at a fast food restaurant now has the power to have you arrested and dragged away in cuffs if you "disobey" their directives.

    It's all about exerting authority... examples made, no exceptions. Circumstances don't matter, if it can technically be treated as a crime by any stretch, you'll get the full force of authority all the way up the chain.

  68. FuzzyTheBear

    Pathetic , Sign and leave a reason on the petition.

    Time to tell these people what we think of their stupid ways.

    This is ridiculous at best. The USA has been going down and now seem to be a nation of retards that can't tell what's right and what's wrong. They need to rethink their thinking and do it fast because the USA is a joke. It's been a joke for a while but noone was laughing as much as we do today. Please sign the petition that is at over 26000 signatures and let them know what you really think of such an event. I mean , what does it take for them to realise they are the joke of the world. Reading the comments about it on the ElReg might help them , but then again , could they find this page ? LOL

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pathetic , Sign and leave a reason on the petition.

      Indeed, I am strongly reminded of a case a few years back when someone was suspended for providing prescription drugs to another pupil.

      They were both asthmatics, his friend was having an attack and rather than rummage through their things for an inhaler he offered his own.

  69. Morrie Wyatt

    How things have changed!

    I read this article shortly after having finished reading the document mentioned below.

    It covers the development of rocket propellants in the early parts of the 20th century.

    It is rather heavy on the chemistry, but the author (Yes, he is an actual rocket scientist (or chemist at least)) manages to cover a great deal of the same sort of tomfoolery that was demonstrated by Ms Wilmot, and does so in a very readable way that kept me entertained for the length of the book.

    The difference is that when things went awry in their experiments, it was more than a plastic bottle that went pop-fizz. The other difference was that back then, the government and armed forces actively encouraged such experimentation.

    It's well worth the read.

    On the expulsion and criminal charges issue, I agree that it is a way out of proportion knee jerk reaction by a rather paranoid establishment. Disciplinary action to reinforce the need to think harder on the possible consequences of her actions before she commits them would be a more appropriate response.

    Based on those rules, I would have been expelled from primary school, but that was back in the 60's where common sense (and the feel of a leather strap across the back of the legs for more serious infractions) was the norm.

    Damn religious extremism and terrorism for making common sense a casualty of war.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: How things have changed!

      "Damn religious extremism and terrorism for making common sense a casualty of war."

      To be fair, I think common sense has been disappearing long before 'the war on terror'. It's just that terrorism and extremism has enhanced the pace a bit and brought whole new areas, never thought of before, into play.

  70. David_H

    Simple evolution

    Crow scarer up the exhaust of an amorous couple - check

    Contact explosives on the floor of the showers in the girls dorm at college - check

    Fertiliser and diesel – check

    Talking to from plod. “Show us how to do it. Wow! Now stop!” - check

    Make things that go into space - check

    It's simple evolution - but then most North American's don't believe in that either

  71. Herby

    Look it could be worse...

    In my "youth" many years ago, I did the usual baking soda in vinegar experiment. I used a ketchup bottle which was glass. I inserted the baking soda into the liquid (I wrapped it in tissue to delay the reaction), and capped the bottle. I had thought that nothing had happened, and desired to remove the bottle cap. Unfortunately the pressure built up had locked the cap in place, so I did the smart thing and tapped it on the pavement (I was outside). One tap, nothing, sedond tap, nothing, the third tap, and the bottle disappeared from my hand. The cap had come off, and the force of stuff in the bottle exited with great velocity, sending the bottle between my legs and across the street. It was pretty scary, after I realized what I had done. Thankfully no body parts were in the way of this "rocket" (people like my wife appreciate this), and I am none the worse for wear.

    Yes, experiments CAN be fun. Explosions are even better fun, the bigger the better! Just live to tell about them, and don't tell your parents till way later!

  72. cosymart
    Thumb Down

    Online petition

    These petitions should come with a health warning! Every time someone farts I get a fucking email!

  73. mhenriday

    Signed the petition.

    Bomb-Disposal Officer and Chief (on the Reg) Climate-Change Denier Lewis Page and yours truly on the same side of an issue ! I'm watching pigs flying by outside my window at the moment....


  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lewis's footnote

    >He was occasionally despatched to incidents of this magnitude and even smaller - but would have been amazed to hear of criminal charges arising from any such event.

    However tweeting a humorous comment about an aviation pilot needing a bomb under their seat to get them going and you'll be facing jail.

  75. Dan Paul

    When is the law not the law? When I judge it to be so!

    <sarcasm/irony> It is my fervent religious belief that stupidity and ignorance are mortal sins. I also believe that I am granted the religious right to remove such sinners from the gene pool.

    Therefore, If I judge certain laws to be the work of the ignorant and stupid; I no longer have to obey them.

    Not only that but I have been ordained by DOG to hunt down and liberate the souls of such non-believers as may stand in the way of the rightous. <sarcasm/irony>

    Sounds strange but this is the same type of logic coming from the Left here in the US as the try to circumvent and pollute the Constitution and institute their "laws".

    People make light of the Second Article of the Constitution (It was never an amendment, its part of the original backbone of the Constitution). It isn't about guns, it's all about the liars and thieves who consider themselves above the law (Cuomo, Schumer, Bloomberg, Obama etc).

    If the Constitutution really needs to be changed, the process is called a Constitutional Convention. These scumbags are too afraid to go through the legally defined process because they know that they are wrong and are breaking the law.

    If to change a law, you have to break 5 of the most sacred legal trusts and oaths in the USA what does that make you?

    A treasonous enemy matter WHAT rank or office you hold, THAT'S what it makes you.

  76. Grogan Silver badge

    Here's what this mentality begets...

    Now, two 7 year old boys have been suspended from school in Suffolk Virginia for playing "army", pointing their pencils at each other and making machine gun noises. The school has a "zero tolerance" policy on weapons, and as usual, small minded administrators think they can stretch the definition to justify their heavy handed authority.

    Seriously, 7 year olds suspended for playing army men? They even stopped when they were told to. There are people justifying this decision too... rules are rules and violating rules has consequences. No exceptions.

    So... next time just take that pencil and jam it right in the principal's eye. You might as well, the consequences will be the same.

    I would pull my kids right out of that school if it were me.

  77. Gordon Henderson

    Ready made...

    My local DIY/Hardware shop sells ready made mixtures of this - Caustic Soda (Lye to the USaians) and slivers of aluminium foil... Designed to heat up the mix when wet to make a more effective drain cleaner...


  78. Tweetiepooh

    Aluminium dust and iodine crushed to powder

    Mix and add a drop of water/detergent.

    This was done often in Chemistry Club at school (80-81) and is quite interesting. When I did it I spent a good time getting the iodine as fine as I could. When activated it went through the metal container we used for the reaction (only very thin) and cracked the tiles on the bottom of the fume cupboard.

    Now all the fun seems to have gone out of lessons with so many health and safety rules and regulations and when children try experimenting ...

    As for doing it at school it is likely that that is one of the best places to be with restricted access, hopefully open space and if something goes wrong people around to help.

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