Irving MacArthur student arrested after bringing homemade clock to school

From BoingBoing:

Ahmed Mohamed is a gifted, driven maker-kid who’s in the ninth grade at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas. When he showed the homemade clock he soldered and pieced together to his engineering teacher, he was told to keep it in his bag. But when the alarm went off in English class, his teacher accused him of bringing a bomb to school.

He told the teacher, and then the principal, and then the police offers who’d been summoned, that it was a digital clock he’d made and brought to school to show as evidence of the kinds of things he was making. He’d loved robotics club in middle school and was hoping to connect to a similar peer group in his new high school.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and paraded through the school with an officer on each arm, wearing his NASA shirt.

When he was brought before the school police, the officer who arrested him looked at him and said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” Ahmed Mohamed and his family (and the Council on Islamic American Relations) believe that the officer was referring to the color of his skin and his name.

Police spokesman James McLellan admits that Mohamed always maintained that the device was a clock, not a bomb, “but there was no broader explanation.” When the Dallas Morning News asked him what “broader explanation” he was looking for, McLellan said, “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”

They did take him into custody.

5 Comments

  1. What a piece of shit engineering teacher. The kid seems smart enough to know that the adults were being knee-jerky assholes, though. I wonder if the adults recognize that this is basically the mechanism by which young people are radicalized in the arab/muslim world writ small.

  2. Well, his tuition is covered now. Or at least it better be once the lawsuit’s settled.

    When he was brought before the school police, the officer who arrested him looked at him and said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”

    Which tells me that they’d been watching him for some time. I hate when suspects jump to use the race card, but this one? Yeah, definitely racial profiling. Jobs should be lost over this.
    This has so much dumbassery all over it.
    If they were sure enough that it was a bomb, why would they dick around with arresting him instead of evacuating the school and calling a bomb squad? And as James said, that engineering teacher sucks. Unless Ahmed was showing it to the rest of the class, how would anyone know that he had the device if he was told to keep it in his bag? That engineering teacher must have said something (maybe not convinced that it was only a clock).

    But when the alarm went off in English class, his teacher accused him of bringing a bomb to school.

    Who set off the alarm, and what led the cops to that kid? For that matter, how could a “bomb” set off (what was likely) a fire alarm?
    So many questions that must be answered. It’s bullshit like this that perpetuates the racial divide.

    1. Follow-up: as more reports have been released, it turns out that the alarm that went off was the alarm on the clock he had built, not the school’s alarm. That still doesn’t excuse all the other injustices that happened.

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