TW: racist criminalization, sexist invalidity
(Kiera Wilmot, a 16 year old Floridan high school student, is being charged with possession and use of weapons on her schools’ premises because of unsupervised experimentation.)
I don’t even know how to even start with this situation. Yes, Kiera Wilmot probably shouldn’t have mixed the chemicals that she did, but there’s honestly a difference between holding her responsible and treating her like a criminal. Having the police investigate to make absolutely certain she wasn’t building a chemical weapon when she’s been nothing but cooperative? That’s pretty much the pinnacle of racist criminalization. Refusing to acknowledge let alone validate Wilmot’s own account of what happened? That’s an unnerving sign of how invalid women’s words are within sexist societies.
Beyond how Wilmot is being penalized, there’s also something to be said about the way her very intellect has been treated during this whole situation. She caused a small explosion (even that word seems like slight hyperbole) and shouldn’t that be enough lesson in and of itself? If the school’s truly concerned that she didn’t absorb the danger in the type of action that she did, then what does that say about their evaluation of her intelligence (which, I have to say, is inseparable from their reception of her mind being within the body of a young Black woman).
There’s a petition being passed around for Florida to drop charges against Wilmot of possessing or discharging a weapon on school grounds. I think we might also need one against her school, asking them to cease treating her curiosity as an innately destructive force. I suggest politely but honestly emailing either her school’s principal (Ronald Pritchard – firstname.lastname@example.org) or superintendent (John Stewart – email@example.com) as well as signing the petition.