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High-School Science Experiment Charges Dropped

Drano bottle bomb explosion
A group of teens detonates a drano-and-aluminum "bottle bomb" on YouTube. The mixture produces hydrogen gas, which expands until it pops the soda bottle (Image credit: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbaiCdX1XWc">BlackIce700</a>)

A Florida student arrested for conducting a mildly explosive science experiment on school grounds will not face felony charges.

In a move that outraged the Internet, police arrested 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot in April after she mixed toilet cleaner with aluminum foil in an 8-ounce water bottle one morning before school. The combination creates hydrogen gas, which caused the bottle to pop in a small explosion. No one was hurt and nothing was damaged, but Wilmot was suspended and arrested on felony charges for discharging a destructive device and possessing a weapon on school grounds.

The Polk County School District defended the extreme response to the "bottle bomb" (a common YouTube prank) by citing the need to uphold their code of conduct rules. Though Wilmot will avoid a felony trial, she won't be going back to the high school that she didn't come close to blowing up, according to the Miami NewTimes: The teen will finish her degree at an alternative school.

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Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.