This Talented 14-Year-Old Made a Clock. So His School Got Him Arrested and Suspended.


Update, September 16, 2:15 p.m.: President Obama weighed in on the controversy, lending his support to Ahmed Mohamed by inviting him to visit the White House.

The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed was the No. 1 trending Twitter item in the United States on Wednesday morning, after a 14-year-old student at Irving MacArthur High School in Texas was arrested on Monday for bringing a homemade clock to school. School officials said they suspected that Ahmed Mohamed’s clock was a bomb.

This is despite the fact that the ninth grader repeatedly told both teachers and the police that his project was not, in fact, a weapon. That didn’t stop the police from arresting him anyway. The Dallas Morning News reports that the police were even contemplating charging Mohamed with bringing a hoax bomb to school.

Mohamed, who has long had a strong interest in science and robotics, was led out of school in handcuffs and suspended for three days.

“An officer and the principal came in and took me up, and they took me to a room filled with five officers,” Mohamed explains in the video below, posted by the Dallas Morning News. “They interrogated me and searched through my stuff and took my tablet and my invention.”

“Later that day, I was taken to a juvenile detention center, where they searched me, they took fingerprints and mug shots of me, and they searched me until my parents came and I got to leave the building,” he added.

Police spokesperson James McLellan said that although the student repeatedly maintained to officials that the clock was just a clock, not a bomb, “there was no broader explanation” for it.

But as his father tells the Dallas Morning News, Mohamed “just wants to invent good things for mankind, but because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11, I think my son got mistreated.”

The newspaper reports, “He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.” Hours after #IStandWithAhmed started trending on Wednesday, Mohamed appeared to weigh in on social media to express gratitude for the outpouring of support.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate