When 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed arrived at school on Monday morning with a digital clock he had built from scratch, he was very excited to show it to his technology teacher. Instead, he was pulled out of class and arrested for attempting to build a bomb.
Ahmed Mohamed made the clock at home on Sunday night. It was built from a small circuit board, power supply and digital display, all housed inside a case decorated with a tiger hologram. According to the Dallas Morning News, Ahmad’s technology teacher said the clock was “nice”, but advised him not to show it to anyone.
During his English class the clock kept beeping and beeping, so the teacher started asking questions. He told the Dallas Morning News: “She was like: ‘it looks like a bomb.’ I told her, ‘It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.’’’
At the end of the day Ahmed was taken out of his class by the principal and he was questioned by five police officers before he got arrested and removed from the school. He also claims his principal threatened him with expulsion and that his fingerprints were taken in a juvenile detention center. On top of that Mohamed got suspended from school.
In a video from the Dallas Morning News he said the incident made him feel like he was not a human, but a “criminal”.
Irving Independent School District Spokesperson Lesley Weaver issued the following statement, reported by NBCDFW.com: “We always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior… We will always take necessary precautions to protect our students and keep our school community as safe as possible.”
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, thinks the incident is a result of racial prejudice. “Because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11th, I think my son got mistreated,” he told The Dallas Morning News.
Actually, it seems that Mohamed is an innocent geek who loves to build different things. He was a member of a robotics club in middle school, and in a photo taken by his sister as he was arrested, the NASA t-shirt he was wearing that day framed his indignant expression.
There’s now a hashtag circulating on Twitter — #IStandWithAhmed —and many people are offering support. Ahmed got suspended for three days. Funny how being a smart kid can get you in so much trouble.