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Kiera Wilmot: The Future of Feminism

A steady diet of science fiction has got me looking toward the stars. I think about it a lot. I look around trying to see the future of our planet and this is a definite step in the wrong direction:

Kiera Wilmot was arrested April 22 for two felonies after school administrators reported she combined toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a bottle, and the resulting gas blew the cap off the plastic bottle.

She was quoted as saying “she didn’t mean to hurt anyone.” Whether or not she meant to hurt anyone is clearly beside the point: she should have been given better stewardship. The school should more clearly outline the rules of experiments:

  • Wear safety goggles
  • Know where the eyewash station, the fire extinguishers, the first aid kits are.
  • Never start an experiment without a clear hypothesis.
This is super simple stuff. Every science class starts out with a handout on it, outlying the dangers. If smart, bright, intelligent girls like Kiera don’t know this, we need make sure we aren’t putting them at risk for failure or even worse, expulsion.

When I was in 9th grade I had a crotchety old science teacher for my mentor. He said “cool beans” a lot, a habit I picked up and used for years. I used to wear long sleeve shirts under short sleeve shirts and when the schools “Dress Like a Weirdo” day came around, he called it “Dress like Garland Grey day.” He made a science seem like an adventure.

I wasn’t always the hardest worker — homework was my Achilles’ heel — but when I failed his class he told me I could do a report on sheep to make it up. He was a sheep rancher and the topic interested him, and thats why I know so much about the subject today.

Science has been one of the most powerful forces for good in my life, but it can’t flourish if the education system isn’t nurturing girls like Kiera. We need to find a way to make education come alive for kids, otherwise we’ll never be able to compete in a global economy.