Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed’s homemade clock was a proud achievement, and he brought it to school to show his engineering teacher. He couldn’t have known that before the day was over, he’d be taken from his school in handcuffs, after being questioned by police who said the device looked too much like a bomb. The response to the punishment has been widespread and vocal — and now President Obama has joined it.
According to BBC News, 14-year-old Mohamed loves engineering and building things, and he brought the clock to school to show his engineering teacher the scope of his abilities. He says the teacher admired it but told him it wouldn’t be wise to show anyone else. However, another teacher saw the device later in the day, when it made a sound inside Ahmed’s backpack and he had to access it to silence it.
Later, Ahmed found himself pulled from class for questioning by police — and his explanation that his device was merely a clock, not a homemade bomb or attempted bomb hoax, didn’t satisfy anyone. Instead, he was cuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center. Despite being released without charges, he was given a three-day suspension from school, and his parents received a warning.
Ahmed’s punishment for simply being a smart, studious teenager who wanted to impress his teacher with his work has created outrage across the nation. On Irving Independent School District’s Facebook page, hundreds of comments let the system know that the public doesn’t agree with the decision.
“If there was real concern he had made a bomb… why wasn’t the school evacuated?”
“[An] apology to this young man needs to be issued immediately by the teacher, the school and the police!”
“You suspended that kid for three days for bringing a homemade clock to school?!”
In the rest of the comments, the words “Islamaphobia,” “racial profiling,” and “bigotry” figure prominently, as well as numerous jokes and jabs about the danger of clocks in schools.
Now, though, the President of the United States has responded to Ahmed’s situation, expressing admiration for the teen’s homemade clock and inviting him to visit the White House with 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
The White House has hosted five science fairs under President Obama, who has worked to promote and show respect for science education. Ahmed Mohamad’s homemade clock represents exactly the sort of excitement about learning and creating that the President has spoken of so highly, and the invitation is already going viral with hundreds of thousands of shares.
[Image: POTUS Twitter]