When Ahmed Mohamed entered his school in Irving, Texas on Sept. 16, he expected praise for creating a homemade clock. Instead, he was met with punishment. With the dream of attending MIT and becoming an engineer, Ahmed said all he wanted was to “impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her.”
Ahmed brought the homemade alarm clock to school to show his teachers what he was capable of, but while he was in his English class, an alarm went off. The teacher then sent him out of class into a room with four police officers. One of whom immediately said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
Such a display of racial profiling exhibits the reason Alia Salem of the Council on American-Islamic Relations stated that “this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed.”
Ahmed was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center. The school did not contact Ahmed’s parents until they received a call from the police stating their son was being charged with having a hoax bomb. They had denied Ahmed’s wishes to phone his parents because he was being put under arrest. Ahmed was interrogated without the knowledge of his parents and without the presence of an attorney. The legal charges were dropped, but Ahmed still faces three days of suspension.
In this situation, it is obvious that the school should respond to any possible threat with an investigation in order to ensure the safety of the students, but the measures that were taken against Ahmed Mohammed were excessive and unreasonable. For a child with such high aspirations, such a traumatic experience as the one Ahmed has endured is devastating. The fact that the school board suspended such an extraordinary student, possibly inhibiting his dream to attend such a prestigious school as MIT, is absurd.
Many have taken to social media to combat this injustice, using the #IStandWithAhmed. Among the many influential leaders who have reached out to him are Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and many more. “Cool clock, Ahmed,” Obama tweeted. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” If even the President agrees that Ahmed’s intentions were admirable, why does the school board refuse to accept that they were in the wrong? Ahmed did not deserve the punishment he received, nor did he deserve to be treated the way that he was. “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” stated Mark Zuckerberg.
Terrorism in schools is starting to become more and more prevalent nationwide. Last week Ahmed Mohamed, an engineering student, was accused of bringing in a bomb-clock to school. Early in the morning, the teen brought the clock to his engineering teacher. Looking at the clock, the teacher told him “do not show this to anyone else.” In literature class, the clock’s alarm went off. The teacher was scared, so she took all protocols to their full extent, calling the police department.
During the investigation the authorities figured out that the “bomb” was a hoax and was not a threat at all. After taking stock on the situation, the authorities dropped all charges and let Ahmed go home to his worried family.
There are many factors that go in the protocol of threats to schools. In fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms reports that the success rate of bomb detonations for bombs in schools is slightly higher than that for the national rate of all bombings. The range of explosive substances and ways of detonating them are limited only by the bomber’s imagination and resourcefulness. Not knowing when the next attack would be, administration has a new outlook on bomb threats.
Ahmed’s school gave him 3 days of suspension because of the bomb incident. This punishment is nothing compared to the one Ahmed was being faced with by the police department. Ahmed has been put in a very awkward situation, and I do not blame him for feeling the way he does towards the school, but the school took all measures to ensure the safety of the students.