This is not to say that I think this teenager committed a crime, personally I do not. When I went to school, there was Detention and then there was the big all day on Saturday detention. Personally I don't think this young lady should have been expelled, or even suspended. Two full all day detentions where she has to clean toilets, bathrooms, desks, buses, etc... would have sufficed.
Certainly, after that incident the school should have made an announcement that the situation was not considered acceptable without permission / supervision from a chemistry teacher. And then any future situations of a similar nature would result in a x #no of day(s) suspension. And a repeat offender, expulsion.
This would encourage students to be curious and cautious by approaching the appropriate teacher and getting guidance and permission.
School is for curiosity and learning. Students make mistakes but it shouldn't stay with them for the rest of their academic lives.
Hell if a teenager kills someone, their name is usually kept from the papers, they go to juvenile detention and their records are sealed at 18. This one young lady experiments with some chemical house hold items and she's persecuted across America by those who insist on zero tolerance.
Folks, I don't want to see people get hurt unnecessarily, but we learn from our mistakes, let us make them without persecution forever.
Zero-tolerance is the destruction of basic human nature and most of all COMMON SENSE. Every situation is different, Every student is different, treat them differently.