from the this-is-infuriating dept
He kept the clock inside his school bag in English class, but the teacher complained when the alarm beeped in the middle of a lesson. Ahmed brought his invention up to show her afterward.The incredible thing is that the police flat out admit that he never claimed it was a bomb, but they're still considering charging him with making a hoax bomb.
“She was like, it looks like a bomb,” he said.
“I told her, ‘It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.’”
The teacher kept the clock. When the principal and a police officer pulled Ahmed out of sixth period, he suspected he wouldn’t get it back.
They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
Ahmed felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion. But the police kept him busy with questions.
The bell rang at least twice, he said, while the officers searched his belongings and questioned his intentions. The principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t make a written statement, he said.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.
“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”
“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”
Ahmed never claimed his device was anything but a clock, said police spokesman James McLellan. And police have no reason to think it was dangerous. But officers still didn’t believe Ahmed was giving them the whole story.Perhaps there was no broader explanation because none is needed.
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”
Even more ridiculous: they handcuffed this kid (wearing a NASA t-shirt, by the way) and walked him through the school as they took him away. This picture is shameful.
Ahmed's sister told me to post this. Yes this situation is real for those questioning. pic.twitter.com/Oxd0JxUS6O— Prajwol/Ru (@OfficalPrajwol) September 16, 2015
He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.Curiosity killers.
The school has now doubled down on this move, by sending a letter to parents at the school congratulating themselves for this whole thing:
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.Even worse... the school is using this as a "teaching moment" telling parents to tell their kids to report any "suspicious" things. Like brown kids being curious and inventing cool shit:
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.And by "address" it, apparently, they mean arrest bright kids for being curious and gifted.
The whole "bomb hoax" thing based on authorities getting confused about a non-bomb reminds me of that time, back in 2007, when Cartoon Network tried to promote Adult Swim with light up boxes of various characters placed around Boston -- and because some people freaked out and the city was shut down, Boston's mayor declared the marketing stunt a "bomb hoax." Once again, if someone is building something that you mistake for a bomb, and they had no intention of passing it off as a bomb, nor does it actually look like a bomb, it's not a bomb hoax. At all. And you look ridiculous calling it out as such.
And, of course, you look that much more ridiculous when you not only overreact like this, but do it against a clearly intelligent and talented teenager who likes to tinker with electronics.
Update: A picture of the clock has now been released. Nothing about it changes the story at all.