Please email, phone, write, and call Florida's Polk Country School Board to get this matter reversed.
Their general phone number is 863-534-0500. Please be polite, tell them why you are calling, and your concerns about what happened with young Ms. Wilmot. Because of privacy guidelines, they will not give you specific information. But, you can contact multiple people who are listed on the directory and share your thoughts about this case.
Bureaucracies and bureaucrats want to be left alone. If we all take five minutes out of our day to call the Polk County School Board, I would not be surprised if their decision to expel Kiera was quickly reversed.
The criminalization and disparate treatment of young people of color by America's public school system has been well-documented and researched. All things be equal, black and brown youth are more likely to be expelled, considered "disruptive," and disciplined by their school teachers. Children who happen to be non-white are also more likely to be placed in remedial education programs, or labeled as being in need of "remedial" training.
Moreover, public schools are increasingly more akin to prisons where human beings are warehoused and disciplined, than they are centers of learning, critical thinking, inquiry, and a place for the creation and mentoring of responsible active citizens.
Given the racism and classism incumbent in the prison industrial complex, it is no surprise that innocent black and brown youth are marginalized and stigmatized as "deviants" and "incorrigibles" by the public and private educational system. Zero tolerance policies in our schools that lock up kids for drawing pictures of guns in art class, using their fingers as pretend weapons, and being curious and adventurous like Kiera Wilmot, are ways for Power and the Elite class to discipline citizens by creating a passive and obedient class of drones.
Thus, if one numbs the mind and its capacity for curiosity and introspection, a pliable (and fearful) public is created. This behavior is then normalized, and our young people are socialized into it as the new normal.
I comparison to the treatment received by Kiera Wilmot, white kids are labeled as "precocious" and "high energy." Black and brown kids are called "disruptive" and "threatening."
Kiera Wilmot's story hit home for me.
When I was in elementary school, I made a volcano for my science class project. I used (then legal) smoke bombs, bits of sparklers, and other materials to mimic the reactions I read about in my research. My mother and father also donated money for a heat resistant clay that I purchased at the art supply store.
During the demonstration, my volcano worked as intended and designed. I had read about making scale models of one's experiments in order to make sure that they would function properly. This took time, energy, and resources. With a young person's confidence, I knew that I had the best project in class. My meticulous planning, love of blowing things up, and consulting with my friend who had a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, ensured the outcome I desired.
The class was amazed and I was proud. The teacher, a good woman, but one prone to being wooed by the sycophancy and professional lobbying of the class pets--and their well connected and strategic parents--awarded them the prize for best project because my volcano was "dangerous."
Well, in my 6th grade mind, and holding in to the present, what use is a model volcano if it does not produce a bit of shock and awe among the audience? More than two decades later, I still have no answer for that question.
Growing up is hard enough for all kids. Even given all of the biases and unfairness experienced by young black and brown youth in our public schools, and girls in the sciences, that Kiera Wilmot would be expelled for showing the very type of intellectual curiosity which should be encouraged among our young people, is absurd.
Consider. White kids can go to school, blow the place up, and then be the subject of excuse-making and psychologizing; white youths can show all manner of inclinations to commit mass murder; some of them even make bombs and stockpile weapons in their parents' garage and basement. But, a black girl who makes smoke come out of a bottle at recess is expelled. Once more, and again, racial micro aggressions have an out-sized impact on the life chances of young black and brown young people.
My instincts tell me that Kiera Wilmot is a ghetto nerd. Let's support her through to a positive resolution of this whole damned affair.