*Ahmed Mohamed loves inventing things. He says it is his hobby. So he spent about 20 minutes building a homemade clock, using a circuit board, a digital display, and a cheap case he says is sold at Target for $5 or $10; and proudly walked it to school to show his teachers. But halfway through the school day the MacArthur High School freshman was escorted out of school by a group of police officers who suspected the 14-year-old’s clock may have really been a bomb.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” explained his father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, a Sudanese immigrant. “But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
Mohamed, Jr. spoke to The Dallas Morning News and said he had showed the invention to his engineering teacher at the start of the school day. That teacher said it was “really nice,” but then added, “I would advise you not to show any other teachers.”
Mohamed took his advice and kept the clock in his bag. But when the alarm on the clock went off during class, and was heard by an English teacher, he revealed the device.
Mohamed said she told him it “looks like a bomb,” and held on to it.
According to Mohamed, the principal — accompanied by a police officer — came and pulled him from his sixth period class and took him to a room where four other officers were waiting for him, including one he had never seen before who said: “Yup, that’s who I thought it was.”
The student says he was searched and told by the principal that if he didn’t write a statement, he would be expelled. Mohamed was then handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center, where he was fingerprinted and released to his parents.
Police spokesman James McLellan admits authorities “have no information that he claimed it was a bomb. He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.” When pressed by The Dallas Morning News, McLellan added, “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?”
Mohamed stands by his original claim, that he built the clock to tell time. He has been suspended from school for three days.
In the video below, Mohamed says the experience “made me feel like I wasn’t human. It made me feel like a criminal.”
Do you think the school was right to alert the police? Do you think the police were right to arrest the student after seeing the clock? Do you think the students’ name had anything to do with the assumption made by the teachers and cops?