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girl expelled, charged with felony, at local school


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This is in a neighboring county. She mixed some toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a small water bottle. The lid popped off and there was some smoke. She will spend the rest of her highschool years in a special program for expelled students, and has been charged with a felony, for having a bomb. I'm very grateful no one was hurt, as these can certainly be dangerous if bigger/lid on tightly, etc. But the reaction seems over the top for a kid that had never been in trouble, according to her teachers and principal. No one thinks she was trying to hurt anyone. http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2013/05/florida_school_responds_to_cri.php

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Stories like this make this parent of a pre-teen very worried.

 

It seems these days that we are a society with little to no tolerance for teenagers, or older children, behaving like, well, teenagers. We pay lip service to the fact that teens will make mistakes, but we have turned things that 20 years ago would have been a blip on the radar into life altering points of no return.

 

 

 

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I agree, the reaction is way over the top. It was just an experiment, no one was hurt, no problem. School officials have probably ruined this girl's interest in science. We are doomed if this is going to be the standard reaction to curiosity.

 

Diann

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Stories like this make this parent of a pre-teen very worried.

 

It seems these days that we are a society with little to no tolerance for teenagers, or older children, behaving like, well, teenagers. We pay lip service to the fact that teens will make mistakes, but we have turned things that 20 years ago would have been a blip on the radar into life altering points of no return.

 

:iagree: Actually our society does not seem to have very much tolerance for children of any age acting like children here lately.

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According to this article, in MD plastic bottle bombs of this type (Works Bombs, Drano Bombs) are categorized exactly like pipe bombs that terrorists use. It's a felony, up to 25 years in prison or $250,000 in fines.

 

http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/Is_That_Pepsi_Bottle_Really_a_Drano_Bomb

 

I don't know why she did it or if she meant to hurt anybody. I do know that fools on youtube do all sorts of stuff that stupid people imitate. It would seem to me that reputation and intent should have a lot of bearing on this case. Still, what she did was very stupid, very dangerous, and a felony. Of course there will be some kind of a consequence.

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These bombs have been in my community this year (2013). They can cause injury including lost fingers.

 

If she did this experiment in a supervised lab at school, there should be no punishment. The supervising instructor/adult should take full responsibility. If not, it's a bomb and should be treated as such. It's fortunate that no one was injured.

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These bombs have been in my community this year (2013). They can cause injury including lost fingers.

 

If she did this experiment in a supervised lab at school, there should be no punishment. The supervising instructor/adult should take full responsibility. If not, it's a bomb and should be treated as such. It's fortunate that no one was injured.

 

 

So even if she didn't know she was making a bomb, and had no intent to make a bomb, and had no intent to hurt anyone, she should be treated the same as if someone purposely built a bomb to hurt people? Seems there should be a difference there.

 

Heck, my son has put alka seltzer in a film canister with water and watched the lid explode off. Is that a bomb too? What about the bags of baking soda and vinegar that he exploded last year, as a fun science trick?

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So even if she didn't know she was making a bomb, and had no intent to make a bomb, and had no intent to hurt anyone, she should be treated the same as if someone purposely built a bomb to hurt people? Seems there should be a difference there.

 

Heck, my son has put alka seltzer in a film canister with water and watched the lid explode off. Is that a bomb too? What about the bags of baking soda and vinegar that he exploded last year, as a fun science trick?

 

 

Those last two are not already on the books as felonies! I think everyone has said her reputation and intent should be taken into consideration. I'm not seeing anybody agree with prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

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Sigh.

 

Sure she did something stupid. (tho I wonder about who she says told her to try it :/ )

 

But kids do stupid crap. Sometimes even stupid crap that gets them or others hurt without any intention of it.

 

It's more stupid to let it ruin her life.

 

Because that's sure going to make her a model citizen - oh wait, no it never works that way.

 

She had no intention of hurting anyone.

 

A stern lecture and a few days detention and making her watch a bid of how bad it could have been would have probably been more than sufficient.

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Those last two are not already on the books as felonies! I think everyone has said her reputation and intent should be taken into consideration. I'm not seeing anybody agree with prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

 

 

My point was I have no idea if those are felonies, and I would have no clue that the works bomb thing was a felony either. I'm sure this girl didn't. If my son asked to make a small one, with proper safety observed, I would have had no issue with it. I would have had no idea it was against the law or a felony! My point is, what the heck else is against the law I don't know about, and am probably guilty of doing?

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It sounds like she took it rather far away from the building. It's an over reaction for sure, but I'm not buying for one minute that she didn't know it would explode. Of course she did. That's why they call it a "Works bomb", not a "Works poof".

 

One of the students in my Backyard Ballistics class suggested we do this experiment. I declined after looking it up on youtube.

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It sounds like she took it rather far away from the building. It's an over reaction for sure, but I'm not buying for one minute that she didn't know it would explode. Of course she did. That's why they call it a "Works bomb", not a "Works poof".

 

One of the students in my Backyard Ballistics class suggested we do this experiment. I declined after looking it up on youtube.

 

Idk. Maybe she just thought it would make a mess?

 

I make my kids do all their stuff at the foot of the driveway or back patio so I can hose off the messes. But if something ever actually exploded, I'd be very surprised.

 

What about stink bombs? Those don't explode at all, but most guys don't make them at the lunch table and they also don't usually intent any harm beyond a nasty smell.

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I guess since I am my kids' science teacher, they can make them and it's not a felony?

 

Sigh.

 

I would hope not. I have considered trying one where I know my kids will be at a safe distance just in case some friend some day gets a hair-brained idea. They'll know what could happen.

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Idk. Maybe she just thought it would make a mess?

 

As much as I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt... I'm very very very skeptical that a 16 year didn't know that works bombs explode. She took it well away from the building from the incident report. She knew something was going to happen.

 

After all, you put the cap on and stand back. No way a cap fastened to a bottle is going to be caused by a chemical reaction of it's contents to come off any way but forcefully. Since no one got hurt, she knew enough about it to stay clear.

 

I do believe though, that she'd like very much not to be in trouble. Poor kid must be freaking out.

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She made a BOMB. At school. The reaction seems totally reasonable to me.

Doesn't mean she is a bad person or I wish her a bad life... but this is not an "oopsie."

 

I also don't buy she didn't know what would happen when she mixed up the ingredients. She might not have known exactly what would happen, but, any person who can read the back of a drano bottle knows it is a very dangerous and potentially deadly substance. Not a toy.

 

The person who urged her to make it should be expelled as well.

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As much as I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt... I'm very very very skeptical that a 16 year didn't know that works bombs explode. She took it well away from the building from the incident report. She knew something was going to happen.

 

After all, you put the cap on and stand back. No way a cap fastened to a bottle is going to be caused by a chemical reaction of it's contents to come off any way but forcefully. Since no one got hurt, she knew enough about it to stay clear.

 

I do believe though, that she'd like very much not to be in trouble. Poor kid must be freaking out.

 

 

My 18 year old wouldn't presume that at all. You're thinking with the experience of a grown person with a life time of experience.

 

She is 16. My teens make model rockets. They stand back too. It's not because they expect anything truely dangerous to happen.

 

I'm sure she though the lid would blow off and land in the dirt.

 

Kids and teens don't think bad stuff will happen to them or that some stupid prank they did could end up actually really hurting someone. This fact of youth is pretty well known and I think it's rather stupid for schools and police to ignore that fact in handling youth.

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Kids and teens don't think bad stuff will happen to them or that some stupid prank they did could end up actually really hurting someone. This fact of youth is pretty well known and I think it's rather stupid for schools and police to ignore that fact in handling youth.

 

 

With that defense, the girl could have brought a BB gun or fireworks or a Taser or some pepper spray ..... all could be really useful in stupid pranks, and all probably won't really hurt someone, and all things that 16 year olds feel irrationally invincible against. Personally I'd rather be pepper sprayed than have boiling drano cause chemical burns on my skin.

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She made a BOMB. At school. The reaction seems totally reasonable to me.

Doesn't mean she is a bad person or I wish her a bad life... but this is not an "oopsie."

 

I also don't buy she didn't know what would happen when she mixed up the ingredients. She might not have known exactly what would happen, but, any person who can read the back of a drano bottle knows it is a very dangerous and potentially deadly substance. Not a toy.

 

The person who urged her to make it should be expelled as well.

 

 

Ok, first, what makes a water bottle where the lid blows off a bomb, but a film canister wwhere the lid blows off NOT a bomb? We ddi that experiment at school, with alkaseltzer and water. Is it size? Her water bottle was "small" according to the reports, so how big does it have to be, How much pressure does there have to be? If I'd seen that done at school I wouldn't have thought to call it a bomb. Heck, my teacher exploded a balloon of helium or something in science class! Big fireball and all!

 

She also didn't use drano, she used toilet bowel cleaner.

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With that defense, the girl could have brought a BB gun or fireworks or a Taser or some pepper spray ..... all could be really useful in stupid pranks, and all probably won't really hurt someone, and all things that 16 year olds feel irrationally invincible against. Personally I'd rather be pepper sprayed than have boiling drano cause chemical burns on my skin.

 

 

The difference is all those things are intended to inflict harm, so one knows they can. Even her principal believes that she didn't intend to cause harm.

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The difference is all those things are intended to inflict harm, so one knows they can. Even her principal believes that she didn't intend to cause harm.

 

 

 

BB guns and firecrackers are "recreational", not intended to cause harm, in theory. But both are inappropriate in school. We're talking about DRANO. I have never seen a product with so many warnings on the back. She knew she wasn't cleaning toilets. It's not like she was using some inert thing that is harmless unless mixed. She's not in trouble for the aluminum foil.

 

What if she had really hurt someone?

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BB guns and firecrackers are "recreational", not intended to cause harm, in theory. But both are inappropriate in school. We're talking about DRANO. I have never seen a product with so many warnings on the back. She knew she wasn't cleaning toilets. It's not like she was using some inert thing that is harmless unless mixed. She's not in trouble for the aluminum foil.

 

What if she had really hurt someone?

 

it was not drano.

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<sigh> Has everyone who made one and made a video of it been arrested yet?

 

I would have been a little worried about Drano, but not about toilet cleaner and aluminum foil. If I hadn't read all this, I would be expecting something like Mentos in Diet Coke.

 

I believe it's very feasible that she did not know (who WOULD know except for chemists) and an acquaintance set her up as a joke.

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I agree with a previous poster that of she was put up to it the friend should also be expelled. Hope begs for the felony to not stick due to lack of intent, but frankly she's probably going to get the short end of the stick because of the race factor. Expulsion strikes me as reasonable, the criminal charge not so much.

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With that defense, the girl could have brought a BB gun or fireworks or a Taser or some pepper spray ..... all could be really useful in stupid pranks, and all probably won't really hurt someone, and all things that 16 year olds feel irrationally invincible against. Personally I'd rather be pepper sprayed than have boiling drano cause chemical burns on my skin.

 

 

I wouldn't care if they did bring those things to school. If they start shooting at classmates I have a problem. If they start tazering classmates I have a problem, if they throw fireworks at a classmate or igniting them in school I have a problem.

 

But some silly boys popping firecrackers in the parking lot? Whatever.

 

BB guns and firecrackers are "recreational", not intended to cause harm, in theory. But both are inappropriate in school. We're talking about DRANO. I have never seen a product with so many warnings on the back. She knew she wasn't cleaning toilets. It's not like she was using some inert thing that is harmless unless mixed. She's not in trouble for the aluminum foil.

What if she had really hurt someone?

 

 

Well she isn't in trouble for draino either. It was toilet cleaner, which is not what draino is.

 

For that matter, she isn't in trouble for toilet cleaner either.

 

In fact, if she had done this in front of her science teacher, she wouldn't be in trouble at all.

 

And one can only hope toilet cleaner is appropriate at school given that I bet every school has multiple closets with it on hand.

 

She's in trouble bc she tried something stupid and several other someone's lack a rational response.

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BB guns and firecrackers are "recreational", not intended to cause harm, in theory. But both are inappropriate in school. We're talking about DRANO. I have never seen a product with so many warnings on the back. She knew she wasn't cleaning toilets. It's not like she was using some inert thing that is harmless unless mixed. She's not in trouble for the aluminum foil.

 

What if she had really hurt someone?

 

 

If she had hurt someone it would be different. If she was a bad kid that was always in trouble, and tossed it into a crowd of people, it would be different. If the school had a rash of these being exploded and there had been announcements about them and she knew better it would be different. Intent, circumstances, etc should matter. I hate one size fits all rules.

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There have been warnings going around various places, including Facebook, about these devices. Apparently, it's considered great fun to assemble one and leave it lying about to warm up in the sun, then wait to watch someone pick it up, which causes it to shake and then explode. Those who don't know better than to pick up the "trash" have been known to lose fingers.

 

I haven't read the linked article, but I'll admit I'm glad the school is taking it seriously.

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I can't figure out how you get it to not explode right way...but I suppose creative kids come up with ways. But yeah, she wasn't trying to hurt anyone, or play a prank. Just thought it would be like mentos in a coke bottle or something I bet. That's what I would have thought before all this.

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It was incredibly dumb for her to try this at school, whether a "friend" put her up to it or not. I think the punishments are over the top, especially charging her with a felony, but I do think it should be taken seriously and she should have some reasonable consequence for her potentially dangerous actions--as should any other students who participated.

 

This could have been handled between the school, the girl, and her parents. Instead, the assistant principal chose to overreact and involve the police, who didn't even know what to charge her with and escalated it even farther by involving the state attorney general (IIRC). It's ridiculous--but so was the girl's behavior.

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I agree that kids should be able to be kids, but they should also know better. If they let this type of behavior go, it sends a message to others that they will get away with it too. It's unfortunate this was her first offense, but she knew what she was doing. We have to stop letting kids go on their way with a little slap on the wrist.

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I think she really blew it. The kids know about zero-tolerance. They know. We may think the rules are ridiculous, but, there they are, and the kids know them.

 

These 'bombs' are the new thing -- they're all over YouTube -- and the kids know what they're doing. Of course, it's possible she was clueless, but I'd be surprised.

 

I'd also be surprised if she is permanently expelled. If she really isn't a chronic trouble-maker, she'll likely make her way back to regular school.

 

I also think that if the administration had looked the other way we'd be reading a thread about those horrible, lax public school principals who let kids make bombs at school.

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Drano bombs are all over youtube. I seriously doubt that she didn't know exactly what would happen. I am not a fan of zero-tolerance policies and I do think she made a stupid and childish mistake, but her mistake was making a bomb. This is something she should have known better than to do anywhere, let alone on school property.

 

ETA: As for the felony charge, I think it's stupid for a first offense.

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Well . . . I'm 50 and I had no clue about "bombs" like that. I seriously doubt my 14 yo knows, either (we aren't science-y around here at all). My 17 yo? Maybe. He is on Facebook, so maybe he learned from there. But science isn't his thing, either, so maybe not.

 

I'm guessing it's a very good thing kids who were experimenting with science stuff centuries ago didn't have "zero tolerance" policies that lack common-sense. Else we probably wouldn't be nearly advanced as we are now.

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They don't explode right away since there is a wax coating on the aluminum foil and it has to dissolve first.

 

Pawz4me---- this was NOT a science experiment in any way. She wasn't in chemistry, this was not assigned or encouraged, there was no science fair going on near this time, and this wouldn't have been a proper science fair project anyway. Making bombs is not a scientific experiment. One could have a scientific experiment as to which brand of aluminum foil explodes first or something like that but again, I still think it is good policy for a school to disallow bomb making as a so-called science project.

 

 

It seems that some of the people commenting here don't realize that these same types of bombs have gravely injured people- if you consider losing fingers a grave injury. I am sure that there have been chemical burns too with these devices. Oh and if she was so interested in things that go poof, there are plenty of harmless demonstrations that can be done- like baking soda volcanoes which will actually clean your sink too.

 

The only way this girl could be less culpable is if she is truly stupid and just did what some other kid told her to do. I don't believe it- who brings aluminum foil and heavy duty toilet cleaning products or drain cleaning products to school along with an empty soda liter bottle just because some kid told her to. I think any kid nowadays would google the ingredients or check youtube or something similar with the internet. However, if she is really stupid, that is a defense. But then she should probably be in a different school or at least a special program in the same school.

 

I think she is lying. There is no person that she can't name. The reason she can't name the person is because she saw something on youtube and doesn't know that person's name or have any connection to him or her.

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I have checked the webpage for the cleaner she used. The bottle has a danger label on the front. I couldn't read what it said but I am sure it talks about the dangers of using the product in a way not meant for it to be used. The girl is actually lucky. She not only violated school rules and state law, she also violated Federal Law. At least one of the warnings on the bottle advises that it is against Federal Law to use the product in a manner unintended. That includes making bombs.

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I think the school is making the correct response. This student's action could have resulted in serious injury. Unless she has a serious learning disability knows this activity is banned.

 

This is not about interest in science. Kids know this stuff explodes. They don't care to find out why. Understanding the components of an exothermic reaction is what making these bombs is about.

 

This is not really comparable to mentos and diet coke, because the danger is so high. But think about that. How many kids who do the mentos thing actually care to find out what's going on. (all kids, not just homeschoolers whse parents encourage further investigation) Face it. They want to see an explosion. It is not science.

 

If someone else coached her into doing this, it is likely she may not reveal who. I work at an alternative school. Most kids I see will go to jail before they reveal partners (no one wants to be a tattler, which is how they interpret it).

 

If she truly has no record, her attorney should be able to get the felony dropped.

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I have to say, my 13 year old didn't know what a Drano bomb was, and he is all over youtube and Facebook. (I believe him that he didn't know, because he would have delighted greatly in once again knowing something his clueless out of touch mom didn't know...trust me). If someone had described it to him I'm sure he would have thought it was like the mentos and diet coke thing. He loves to watch mythbusters and would have totally wanted to do this. I would have let him, maybe, if he wore eye protection, long sleeves/pants, and stood way back, etc. Neither one of us would have thought we were comitting a felony!!! We would NOT have realized we were making a bomb! Even if we knew it was called htat we wouldn't have thought it was REALLY a bomb. Should she be in trouble for doing something dangerous? Of course. Should she have her chances at going to a good college ruined, and maybe go to jail? No.

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Here is my problem, there is knowing and there is KNOWING. Considering how well documented the teenage sense of invulnerability is, I have zero problem believing she knew it would explode without having any grasp on the fact that it could be really, truly dangerous.

 

Teens today have a list the length of my arm of "thou shalt not"s and, thanks to social and Internet media, a virtual army of adults ready to wag fingers at their mistakes. It almost feels like there are these big issues that we cannot seem to control, teen depression, educational quality, cyber bullying, etc., so we are going to come down hard where we can.

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How it is like mentos and diet coke? Those are two harmless, edible thing that react together in a surprising way. It's slightly closer to ammonia and chlorine bleach.... inert products, one with serious safety warnings all over the package, that when put together are very very very bad.

 

There has always been info on how to make bombs out there. My family had a copy of 'The Anarchists' Cookbook' when I was a kid in the 80s (never used any of the info, of course, but we knowledge is better than ignorance). Now it's easier than ever to learn how to make a bomb, but same principle..... If she had NO IDEA what would happen, she should have looked it up first. That is part of any scien pce experiment too.

 

There have always been kids who made things that go BOOM in school. The punishment should be in line the seriousness of the weapons. Got a few noisemakers, get yelled at. Got something that can disfigure and maim someone? Get expelled.

 

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I have to say, my 13 year old didn't know what a Drano bomb was, and he is all over youtube and Facebook. (I believe him that he didn't know, because he would have delighted greatly in once again knowing something his clueless out of touch mom didn't know...trust me). If someone had described it to him I'm sure he would have thought it was like the mentos and diet coke thing. He loves to watch mythbusters and would have totally wanted to do this. I would have let him, maybe, if he wore eye protection, long sleeves/pants, and stood way back, etc. Neither one of us would have thought we were comitting a felony!!! We would NOT have realized we were making a bomb! Even if we knew it was called htat we wouldn't have thought it was REALLY a bomb. Should she be in trouble for doing something dangerous? Of course. Should she have her chances at going to a good college ruined, and maybe go to jail? No.

 

 

And if he had done it at home, under your supervision, with appropriate safety precautions . . . he wouldn't have been expelled for making/having a bomb on school property, which is what got this girl into trouble.

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I'm torn on the situation. Yes, it's terrible that they're coming down so hard on her. On the other hand, if they just give her a slap on the wrist, they're basically saying that it's okay to make bombs at school, as long as they're little bombs. Given how idiotic teenagers seem to be nowadays, I'd rather see one kid in huge trouble than a rash of homemade bombs in schools because the consequences aren't that bad. And it's not like she drew a picture of a bomb, or was reading a book on bomb-making. She actually made a bomb. In my mind, this is the kind of action where a zero-tolerance policy should be applied.

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And if he had done it at home, under your supervision, with appropriate safety precautions . . . he wouldn't have been expelled for making/having a bomb on school property, which is what got this girl into trouble.

 

 

Yes, but it seems he could still go to jail, as I could I suppose. It would still be a felony.

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I have to wonder, would fireworks also be considered bombs? They explode. They can cause injuries similar too, or worse than, these chemical bottle bombs. Would the reaction be the same? ( I don't have an answer to that...just wondering now.)

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