The teen scientist who faced jail time speaks out

Updated
Kiera Wilmot, seen in a screengrab from msnbc's All In w/ Chris Hayes
Kiera Wilmot, seen in a screengrab from msnbc's All In w/ Chris Hayes

Three weeks ago, All In with Chris Hayes first reported on model Florida High School student Kiera Wilmot, then facing expulsion and felony charges for conducting an independent science experiment on school grounds. After our report and a groundswell of support from the science community, social media platforms and press, the charges against Kiera were dropped. Kiera’s punishment was reduced to a ten-day suspension and completion of the Juvenile Justice Diversion Program.

Today, the ACLU released Kiera Wilmot’s firsthand account. She admits to wrongdoing but remains steadfast that law enforcement overreacted and mistreated her: “They didn’t read me any rights. They arrested me after sitting in the office for a couple minutes. They handcuffed me. It cut my wrist, and really hurt sitting on my hands behind my back.” She goes on to describe her feelings of overwhelming mortification at her arrest.

Kiera acknowledged an error in judgment. She says: “My friends and I were outside, and they wanted to see how it [the science experiment] worked. Eventually they convinced me to try it…If I could go back in time, I definitely wouldn’t have done it.” Kiera expresses remorse for carrying out a science experiment without thinking it through, but celebrates her ambition and curiosity. She is thankful for how her story ends. In addition to the numerous petitions and a crowdfunded legal defense fund (which raised more than $8,000 on her behalf), a member of the science community came together to create a fund for Kiera to attend space camp this summer for which she is “stoked”.

The teen scientist who faced jail time speaks out

Updated