If you’ve been following the news today, then you’ve no doubt seen a story about a 14-year-old student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas named Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. Teachers misidentified the clock for a bomb and promptly called the police who arrested and detained Ahmed. You can read about it all here and here.
The police interrogated Ahmed for hours alone, without his parents present. The school also suspended him for three days. At a press conference, an Irving police officer said Ahmed was arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school. A bomb squad wasn’t called, nor was the school evacuated. Odd right?
If you search #IStandWithAhmed on Twitter, you’ll find a plethora of tweets in support of Ahmed’s fight against the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department. Many tweets juxtapose a photo of Ahmed in handcuffs with those of white children holding guns. In this case, one child was arrested for building a “suspicious” clock, while other children hold actual weapons are not bothered by the law.
— Indian Stats (@Indian_stats) September 16, 2015
As it stands now, Ahmed was not charged legally with any wrongdoing. But his school suspension was still upheld, and even after a letter was sent out to community members from the school, they have not apologized publicly for the debacle. If you read the letter, you’ll notice it makes no mention of any mistakes or wrongdoing by either the school or the police department. It’s important to note that knee-jerk reactions the teachers of Irving had are not the correct course of action when dealing with instances like this.
It’s important for us as students at CWU to recognize issues like this and learn from them. Not everyone pays attention to the news (and for sometimes good reason). If we ever want to change, however, we need to be enlightened and tuned into the world around us. Ahmed’s story is something we can all learn from. It’s hard not to inject opinion into this matter and while we don’t know the whole story (yet), we do know that no child should be suspended for a harmless science project.
If you notice instances of institutional or personal racism or discrimination, don’t be afraid to speak up. And as if this story wasn’t already big enough, our own POTUS had something to say about it.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015