High School Senior Conducts Experiment, Resulting In Expulsion And Criminal Charges
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 5 , 2013 - There are times when upholding the law may include apparently overly stringent applications of the law. That is the impression of one Lakeland criminal defense lawyer.
“Polk County's Bartow High School had a bit of excitement recently involving an explosion as the result of a female student mixing toilet bowl cleaner and aluminium foil in a plastic bottle. The bottle top flew off, the container smoked and then exploded. It was a small explosion,” said Thomas Grajek, a Lakeland criminal defense lawyer. The student, who decided to conduct a science experiment on the school's front lawn, discovered she was to be charged as an adult for the crime of causing a minor explosion and would be facing a Florida Assistant State Attorney (ASA).
The assistant principal called 911 after observing the explosion, and summoned the school resource officer, who promptly took the young teen to the ASA, where she was charged with two felonies. The school expelled her for being in violation of the school's code of conduct, despite her spotless student record. The school adheres to a zero-tolerance credo, and would not consider more lenient punishment. Instead, the young teen was told she could face a criminal record for the accidental explosion.
“It is clear that this young lady could have used a good criminal defense lawyer, one to work to bring common sense to the situation. There are so many defenses available, that this case would stand a good chance of being dismissed, rather than giving a young teen a life long criminal record for what amounts to youthful curiosity about a science experiment,” remarked Grajek. Kids make mistakes, Grajek said. Not all mistakes should be criminalized.
Statistics released by the Florida department of juvenile justice indicate the state arrests at least ten juvenile delinquents for every 1,000 students a year. Polk County has the dubious distinction of arresting more than twice the average number of students per year ---- or 21 per 1,000 each year.
Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
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