Homemade clock or bomb? The teachers and administrators at MacArthur High School supposedly could not tell the difference in the case of Ahmed Mohamed. Personally, I think they knew better.
Photo Credit: Summer Thomad
Ahmed Mohamed, a Muslim Sudanese-American 14-year-old-boy, was arrested in Irving, Texas for bringing a homemade clock to school that teachers mistook for a bomb—except they didn’t.
Mohamed brought the homemade clock to school hoping to impress his teacher. However, she claimed to have mistook the clock for a bomb, and soon enough, he was being interrogated by the police.
Despite these claims, I do not believe that the teachers and administrators of Mohamed’s school, MacArthur High School, ever truly thought that he had created a real bomb; the way that this situation was dealt with was not that of a bomb threat protocol.
To put it simply, if Ahmed Mohamed was not an “Ahmed Mohamed” then none of this would have taken place.
Were the students and teachers told to evacuate the building? Was a bomb squad called? No; however, a minor was arrested, interrogated by the Texas police for hours (I should note that he also never received an apology from the police, even after proven innocent), and was denied access to a lawyer or his parents when requested, which is not only against protocol, but is actually illegal.
To put it simply, if Ahmed Mohamed was not an “Ahmed Mohamed” then none of this would have taken place. The teacher may have looked closely enough at the “fake bomb” to realize that it is indeed, a homemade clock.
Sure, ultimately a great deal of good came out of the situation for Mohamed; the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed started trending worldwide on Twitter with more than 100,000 tweets Tuesday morning. A multitude of notable people came out with their support for Mohamed, including Mark Zuckerberg and Hillary Clinton. Even President Obama reached out via Twitter, inviting Mohamed to the White House.
Despite the positive outcome, the unfair treatment Mohamed faced due to his name and ethnicity is inexcusable, especially in a learning environment. In schools particularly, the desire to innovate and experiment should be celebrated—it should not stand as a warrant for one’s arrest.
In regards to the situation, Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.”
Throughout the entire situation, MacArthur High School did not apologize for the inconvenience and misconduct (not to mention the racial profiling) that Mohamed was subjected to. Rather, he was suspended from school for three days.
Personally, I do not see how removing him from school and disrupting his education—even after it was proven that he did not directly break any laws or school rules—is an appropriate response to the situation in the slightest. Additionally, the officers who interrogated him, who did not allow him contact to his parents or lawyer, did not receive any retribution.
What happened with Mohamed is just one instance of many that enforces stereotypes about certain groups of people. This is not the first time someone like Mohamed has faced this kind of unnecessary treatment due to the predisposed prejudices of their counterparts, and it will not be the last. However, if one positive result has come from these circumstances, it is the hope that when an instance similar to this one takes place in the future, it will be handled with prejudices set aside.