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Author Topic: Science Felony in Florida  (Read 1797 times)

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Offline Healergirl

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2013, 03:00:27 PM »
Chester A. Arthur at least can claim lasting Civil Service reform as part of his legacy.

Offline Caela

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2013, 10:10:21 PM »
I'm thinking it's parents who are uninvolved in their kids' education.  Not checking homework, not doing the silly alphabet songs in the early years...

I may not be able to list all the presidents, but I have a greater than 90% chance of telling you if someone was or wasn't - and that's because I might miss some of the more obscure POTUS's  (No one ever remembers Millard Fillmore, honestly.)

I would probably fail on a Presidents quiz, but honestly, I know Einstein wasn't. I just don't get not being involved in your kids education, I've been working on little things with my 4 year old practically since birth.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2013, 12:22:13 PM »
And it's awesome that it only popped the top off the bottle and produced a little smoke, because the spray from the bottle can cause some pretty nasty burns. Additionally, it's a good thing she didn't use a glass bottle. The fact that it didn't hurt anyone is good, but it doesn't change the fact that she was knowingly making a deliberately contained very exergonic reaction (which is pretty much the definition of 'bomb') on school grounds. It doesn't change the fact that someone - most likely her, in fact - could have gotten hurt.

I question the bolded bit. The closest I've seen is that someone told her "Hey, try this, it does something cool!", so she did. Was this irresponsible? Yes. Dangerous? Yes. Is the proper response to charge her wtih two felonies and destroy her education? I... am seriously unconvinced, especially given that no actual harm was done. The lesson being taught here is less "Don't build bombs, kids!" and more "Don't get too curious!", and it's harmful. As one of my favourite comics put it: This is how you kill scientists. This is how you kill inventors. This is how you kill progress.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2013, 12:45:01 PM »
I agree that the key is "knowingly".  And that word should be given a generous meaning  in favor of the girl.

 Was she out to create a big kaboom, or was she after something like the fountain effect as in Mento's and coke?

Intent is a huge part of criminality, that is a long established doctrine.

I reluctantly agree that she should have been expelled.  Reluctantly.   Because she did it on school grounds,not in a lab, and without teacher supervision.

 But felony charges?  Merciful Jesus, no.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2013, 01:53:57 PM »
I agree that the key is "knowingly".  And that word should be given a generous meaning  in favor of the girl.

 Was she out to create a big kaboom, or was she after something like the fountain effect as in Mento's and coke?

Intent is a huge part of criminality, that is a long established doctrine.

I reluctantly agree that she should have been expelled.  Reluctantly.   Because she did it on school grounds,not in a lab, and without teacher supervision.

 But felony charges?  Merciful Jesus, no.

The part I bolded is the crux of the expulsion matter.

As far as I can tell regarding the felonies, no charges have actually been filed yet. Nobody knows right now if she's being charged as an adult, or with felonies, or what. In my opinion, the most appropriate thing to do would be to put her on probation until 18 and then let her record be expunged if she keeps her nose clean.

I question the bolded bit. The closest I've seen is that someone told her "Hey, try this, it does something cool!", so she did. Was this irresponsible? Yes. Dangerous? Yes. Is the proper response to charge her wtih two felonies and destroy her education? I... am seriously unconvinced, especially given that no actual harm was done. The lesson being taught here is less "Don't build bombs, kids!" and more "Don't get too curious!", and it's harmful. As one of my favourite comics put it: This is how you kill scientists. This is how you kill inventors. This is how you kill progress.

Not... really impressed with the hyperbole. The fact that she was lucky enough not to cause a serious accident doesn't change the fact that explosive decomposition reactions are how you actually kill (or hurt) people with stuff like this.

Good gods you chemists are persnickety. Come by sometime and see my collection of highly aged picric acid bottles that we keep sitting around next to all that formaldehyde and cadmium and mercurichrome and ferro/ferricyanide etc. in case we need them for some kind of histology!

I'll show you persnickety! >.>

In all honesty, there is a difference between "these chemicals, when mixed, could blow up if not handled carefully but that's not what we use them for" and "these chemicals, when mixed, are expected to blow up". So, there's that, too.

Not even going to touch the race thing. I see the nuances between the two cases, but it's hard to tease it out and make a call without actually being a lawyer.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2013, 02:23:18 PM »
I agree that the key is "knowingly".  And that word should be given a generous meaning  in favor of the girl.

 Was she out to create a big kaboom, or was she after something like the fountain effect as in Mento's and coke?

Intent is a huge part of criminality, that is a long established doctrine.

I reluctantly agree that she should have been expelled.  Reluctantly.   Because she did it on school grounds,not in a lab, and without teacher supervision.

But felony charges?  Merciful Jesus, no.

I'm not in the US and even if I were I still wouldn't be a lawyer.  But surely "charges" and "convictions" are two different things?  Does being charged with a felony and found Not Guilty have any implications?  Because, if not, I don't see the issue.  We can sit here and armchair lawyer about intent and suchlike based on news reports but we're acting on incomplete information about everything.

If what she did is close enough to a crime to be tried, she should be tried.  If its far enough away to be found innocent, she should be found innocent.  Intent is - at least over here - a defence in court not a defence to being arrested and tried.  Why shouldn't trained professional lawyers and a jury of her peers look over the evidence?

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2013, 02:36:36 PM »
She made an explosive compound on school grounds outside of proper supervision of a teacher, maybe it wasn't gunpowder but still it caused an explosive effect. And yes with zero tolerance expulsion is expected but as for charges likely they will not be so serious its not like she was intentially making nitro.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2013, 02:53:06 PM »
Not... really impressed with the hyperbole. The fact that she was lucky enough not to cause a serious accident doesn't change the fact that explosive decomposition reactions are how you actually kill (or hurt) people with stuff like this.

I don't think it's hyperbole, is the thing. Yes, what she did was dangerous and stupid. So let's teach her how not to be dangerous and stupid while pursuing her interests, rather than that pursuing these interests will get her arrested if she's not perfect.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2013, 03:08:39 PM »
I'm not in the US and even if I were I still wouldn't be a lawyer.  But surely "charges" and "convictions" are two different things?  Does being charged with a felony and found Not Guilty have any implications?

Sadly, to a lot of the public around the world, the moment you are 'charged' you are guilty.  And facts to prove otherwise don't matter, you are guilty, End of Line.

As for this case, expulsion is actually mandatory for stupid, dangerous stunts like this.  Mainly because to keep her on, would tarnish the school's rep.  And to get new students, they need that rep.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2013, 03:32:30 PM »
So, I wonder.  How many science teachers out there make safety the number one priority in the classroom and teach the most important aspect of any sort of experimentation?  Always read about the properties of the chemicals you are using and how the interact with each other.

There was a kid a few years ahead of me in high school who found out at home, by accident, that some sort of cleanser with ammonia in it reacted in a really cool way with chlorine bleach.  He brought a quart of ammonia and a gallon of bleach to school and poured them into a huge plastic garbage can.  It was winter and all the windows in the school were closed with the ventilation system going full blast. The teacher stood and watched while other kids started screaming at him and running for the hall.  They hit the fire alarms on the way out.  Needless to say the rest of the kids, the teacher and the student weren't far behind. 

Sometimes it's an accident and sometimes it's stupidity.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2013, 03:42:53 PM »
Sadly, to a lot of the public around the world, the moment you are 'charged' you are guilty.  And facts to prove otherwise don't matter, you are guilty, End of Line.

As for this case, expulsion is actually mandatory for stupid, dangerous stunts like this.  Mainly because to keep her on, would tarnish the school's rep.  And to get new students, they need that rep.

Right off the bat.. a lot of colleges, companies and such won't hire her now. I know IF the DA's charges go through on any scale beyond Juvie she's done. She won't get to join the military, get a job with a lot of companies. Hell depending on the charge specifics she can't work at a corporate run McDonalds (they have military base contracts)

How many folks on this board have NOT done something stupid that nearly fucked their life up.

For example, I went out to explore with some friends. They set a pile of hay on the farm we looked over on fire. They ran.. I stayed to put it out.. because..well fuck.. I saw no reason to be destructive. I got caught by the residents running a hose out to the fire. I COULD have been sent up for the fire.. the folks who talked to me, and my parents, then the kids who were with me.. didn't press charges.

The old guy who ran the farm.. he looked at me. Then at the five kids who LIED and said they weren't with me. Told his sons to let me go and that he wasn't putting charges on me and took me outside. He told me a lot of things about accountability and consequences. I was grounded for FOUR months and it took YEARS to get my parents to trust me thanks to those kids.. but i learned from my mistakes and made a good reputation as someone who took accountability for his actions.

That saved me from something like 3 charges of sexual misconduct in work before I joined the navy, and two charges of theft from a store I worked in. In the service it kept my career on keel after several people tried to torpedo me on the way up.

What will this girl learn from going to jail and having her life ruined over a small 'pop' in a plastic bottle? Who knows. If she goes into the system, she'll never recover from a simple mistake in judgement. What lessons could she teach others if she's never allowed to go into a good school, learn how to really do things or pass on her experience to others?

You don't always learn from rote learning. You learn from your mistakes and gaffes. Chester Nimitz grounded one of his commands on a sand bar, ditto Jeremy Borda and a bunch of other naval officers who had a massive impact on the world and the country. Today, if any of these men did that..they would be done. End of story. Never advance any further. Never realize their potential.

They took hits from their mistakes. Rank, respect, time before making a new rank or earning the trust of the Navy to run another vessel. Should she have been expelled? Maybe. Possibly get introduced to the process of critical thinking and risk assessment. Possibly. Go to jail for 2 decades for a simple mistake? No.

I do wonder what would have happened if she was a WHITE honor student doing the same thing when the report came across the DA's desk. My take.. the school board went about as far as it should have gone.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2013, 10:17:56 PM »
The fact of the matter here is, sadly, we do not believe in Innocent, Until Proven Guilty.  It's just...  Guilty.

Offline Caela

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2013, 07:43:10 AM »
The fact of the matter here is, sadly, we do not believe in Innocent, Until Proven Guilty.  It's just...  Guilty.

I'm going to say that I don't think that this really applies here. It's not a question of innocence or guilt, we know she did it. The question really, is what should happen to her now.

My own, personal opinion - which has no legal basis whatsoever but is just my own opinion - is that this has gone overboard. She made a mistake, it was a lapse in judgment but she's 16...teenagers do stupid shit, that's part of why we don't give them the same rights as adults. If she wanted to do an experiment, she should have talked to one of her science teachers and performed her experiment in a controlled environment, with supervision, and the proper safety precautions in place. She wasn't trying to hurt anyone, and the article makes it sound like she wasn't even sure what would happen and that finding out was the goal more than making a noise and making the bottle top fly off.

I can get the schools stance in expelling her (though I personally hate zero tolerance policies and think even that was excessive) but having her arrested and taken away in handcuff, and possibly charged as an adult with charges that have a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison...that's over the top.

Instead I think a suspension and perhaps some sort of community service to the school, maybe having to help clean up after sporting events, or repainting walls, or something and specific detentions spent with her chemistry teacher to teach her about controlled experimentation and safety precautions would teach her a lot more, and perhaps keep her curiosity intact, than just dumping her in jail and killing what could have developed into a passion for science and experimentation that most kids in this country sorely lack.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2013, 07:47:28 AM »
Instead I think a suspension and perhaps some sort of community service to the school, maybe having to help clean up after sporting events, or repainting walls, or something and specific detentions spent with her chemistry teacher to teach her about controlled experimentation and safety precautions would teach her a lot more, and perhaps keep her curiosity intact, than just dumping her in jail and killing what could have developed into a passion for science and experimentation that most kids in this country sorely lack.

This.  From all accounts of this girl, she will learn something from this - the question is what does society want to teach her?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2013, 01:56:51 PM »
Frankly, I don't even get the school expelling her:

"Gee, looks like we completely failed at educating this young woman in chemical safety methods...better kick her out rather than actually educating her! That's clearly not our job."

We let educational institutions get away with this bullshit, why? Contrary to popular opinion high schools should be more than glorified babysitters. This is how I end up with undergrads who don't know basic lab safety procedures.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2013, 02:51:45 PM »
DarklingAlice,

I have a lot of sympathy for that view.  I'm torn, I really am.

Offline Caela

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2013, 04:03:35 PM »
Frankly, I don't even get the school expelling her:

"Gee, looks like we completely failed at educating this young woman in chemical safety methods...better kick her out rather than actually educating her! That's clearly not our job."

We let educational institutions get away with this bullshit, why? Contrary to popular opinion high schools should be more than glorified babysitters. This is how I end up with undergrads who don't know basic lab safety procedures.

A lot of it is the school's trying to cover their own ass and not be held liable if someone had gotten hurt. I, personally see zero tolerance policies as a way of throwing up their hands and saying, "Not it!" when something happens and people are looking for someone to blame.

As I said, I think it's excessive and that she shouldn't be spending time sitting in a jail (or her living room at home if they let her parents take her home) but in spending extra time with her teacher learning proper procedures and safety precautions. If you want her to learn constructive consequences then give her some. I'd have no problem with the school saying, you screwed up, you did something that could have seriously hurt you or someone else, you now owe us X number of community service hours spent on something to help improve the school (cleaning up after sporting events, helping plant flowers, scrubbing the crap kids write on bathroom walls off etc.) instead of just tossing her to the cops to deal with.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2013, 05:18:23 PM »
Frankly, I don't even get the school expelling her:

Because she made a nearly military grade bomb?

"Gee whiz, it was an accident.  She didn't mean to kill 70 people, she didn't know those chemicals would do that officer."

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2013, 05:34:42 PM »
Near-military grade?  Seriously?  What those college kids I mentioned did with the portajohn was closer to 'military grade'.  WWI military grade, but military nonetheless.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2013, 05:55:03 PM »
Because she made a nearly military grade bomb?

Yeah, this is factually incorrect.