Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was excited enough about his most recent engineering achievement that he wanted to show his teachers at MacArthur High. He ended Monday in handcuffs after teachers complained that his homemade clock looked like a bomb. Now, a child is traumatized and the people of Irving, Texas, have made headlines — for the second time this year — for Islamophobia and racism. Mohamed, a freshman who was a member of his middle school robotics club, made a clock out of a simple circuit board and a pencil case and took it to show his engineering teacher, according to The Dallas Morning News. The instructor, Mohamed said, told him he should hide his invention from other teachers.
When an English teacher forced him to show her what was beeping during her class, Mohamed brought it out of his backpack. "It looks like a bomb," she said, according to what he told the paper. Later that day, the principal and a police officer showed up to escort him to be questioned despite the fact that his invention was obviously a clock and the teen said clearly he had made a clock. They took him into custody, hands cuffed behind his back, and took him to juvenile detention. Mohamed was wearing a NASA T-shirt.
According to what Mohamed, whose family emigrated to the U.S. from Sudan, told The Dallas Morning News, one officer said, "Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
President Obama said in his most recent State of the Union address that the country needs more students to study science, engineering, math, and technology. Irving has a history of Islamophobic behavior. Earlier this year, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne supported an "anti-Sharia" bill that was clearly anti-Muslim. The Irving Independent School District sent a letter to parents about a "suspicious item" and victim-blamed Mohamed over bringing his creation to school. "I recommend using this opportunity to talk with your child about the Student Code of Conduct and specifically not bringing items to school that are prohibited," the letter read. It is not clear whether the code of conduct prohibits all time devices.
At a press conference Wednesday, the Irving police chief said that they would not file any charges against Mohamed and that he would meet with Ahmed's father Mohamed later today. Ahmed could have faced charges of building a hoax bomb even though he never intended for anyone to think it was not a clock. Twitter has exploded with the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag, and academics in Texas have already started offering the teen the chance to work with them and restore some of his love of learning.