FPR Blog 45: An Insensitive Display of Over Reaction By School & Police Officials

There is no possible way that I could ever think I’ve seen it all. I used to think like that until the next surprising and stupid thing would happen. But, this next story takes the cake for jaw-dropping disgust.

Ahmed Mohamed is 14 years old and is an intuitive ninth-grader at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. A few days ago at home he was doing what a kid with his brain does. He was making a working clock out of spare computer parts and an old pencil box. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

He was so proud of himself that he wanted to show it off at school the very next day. Yes, he built it before bedtime.

He didn’t sneak it into school. He did not hide it from any authority figures. Upon walking in he showed his teacher who was frightened by it. I don’t know if it’s because his name is Ahmed Mohamed or the first month jitters, but this teacher and the school officials went above and beyond overboard.

I have not seen any information on this kid’s previous behavior so I can’t say if there was a character change, but it doesn’t appear so. Basically, he seems to be a good kid. I know for sure that the only teacher who didn’t act in any negative way and was also very proud of him was his engineering teacher.

At a joint press conference with Irving Independent School District, Chief Larry Boyd said the device confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock, was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the clock and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents.

There are two parts of this story that really sicken me and that’s one of them. To think that this couldn’t be settled in the principal's office is beyond my comprehension.

Why did this kid need to be processed or arrested in the first place? I saw no need to cuff him, but ok. I’ll accept that, but to send him to juvie is ridiculous.

Boyd goes on to say, “The follow-up investigation revealed the device (a clock) apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm.”

The second part that upsets me is the school’s response to the situation.

After all was said and done, the police nor the school apologized to the boy or his parents. They did the opposite.

MacArthur High school sent a letter to the parents informing them of what happened.

This is the text of the letter they sent…

Ed.D. Principal Superintendent of Schools 
MacArthur High School 

September 15, 2015 

Dear Parents/Guardians, In Irving ISD and at MacArthur High School, your child’s safety, and well-being is always our top priority and we want to maintain open, honest and timely communication with you. 

If there was ever an imminent threat to your child, we would take immediate and necessary precautions, and we would inform you immediately. 

While we do not have any threats to our school community, we want you to be aware that the Irving Police Department responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus yesterday. 

We are  pleased to report that after the police department’s assessment, the item discovered at school did not pose a threat to your child’s safety.

Our school is cooperating fully with the ongoing police investigation, and we are handling the situation in accordance with the Irving ISD Student Code of Conduct and applicable laws. 

Please rest assured that we will always take necessary steps to keep our school as safe as possible. 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. 

Also, this is a good time to remind your child how important it is to immediately report any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior they observe to any school employee so we can address it right away. 

We will always take necessary precautions to protect our students. 

Thank you for your understanding and support of MacArthur High School as we do everything we can for your child's safety. 

Dan Cummings

I have no more words.

I’m so embarrassed and offended to be part of this society today, but there is a glimmer of hope in my horizon…

Ahmed Mohamed has received much support and mainstream media coverage. I have to admit I was really surprised at the amount of coverage the story has received.

Many people online are showing support by hashtagging 'I stand with Ahmed'. The president has even gotten involved.

President Barack Obama reached out and invited the boy to hang out. He tweeted that he thought the clock was cool and asked if he would he like to bring it to him at the White House. That part is pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this story is going to change society’s ignorance on the issue of race and discrimination. I don’t believe anything will.

There will always be certain people that have negative feelings towards people of color, that can’t be avoided. But, locking up a 14-year old who takes engineering in high school can.

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Blog by T. Clavero for Freedom Pop RadiO

Email t@freedompopradio.com