Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday.
Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed’s circuit-stuffed pencil case.
So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.
But the Council on American-Islamic Relations took note.
“This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,” said Alia Salem, who directs the council’s North Texas chapter and has spoken to lawyers about Ahmed’s arrest.
“We’re still investigating,” she said, “but it seems pretty egregious.”
Meanwhile, Ahmed is sitting home in his bedroom, tinkering with old gears and electrical converters, pronouncing words like “ethnicity” for what sounds like the first time.
He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.
DANIEL CUMMINGS – Principal, firstname.lastname@example.org
JOSE L. PARRA, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools
MacArthur High School
3700 N. MacArthur, Irving, Texas 75062
Ahmed seems like every kid that shows up on our SHOW AND TELL or any Maker Faire we’ve been to, Ahmed – hang in there, the adults are not handling this well. Ahmed (or if someone who knows you) email email@example.com, and we’ll send you out some electronics too while this all gets settled.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
I once had my backpack checked on entering the NYC subway, and cop seemed friendly enough, so I mentioned that sometimes I have electronic projects that may look suspicious to him.
He said as long as there’s not a lot of wires hanging out and no batteries, it *might* be ok… but 1) I’m white, so not their key demographic, and 2) most electronics have batteries, and most DIY projects have lots of wires hanging out.
So the answer is not clear, except don’t carry potentially suspicious looking things in public, if you don’t have to. But that is not always a solution, particularly in urban cities where public transport is the only option.
I understand the need for public safety, and caution, but this is a clearly a case of a fearful, badly informed public, and possibly racism. The “hoax bomb” charge is completely ridiculous (Trumped up, with a capital T, if you’ll excuse my indulgence) even if it was dropped.
The way to win hearts and minds is not by threatening and alienating curious and smart kids. Who knows what kind of ostracizing and bullying he might receive after this? I’m just very glad the police found the restraint not to do him any harm, unlike other children holding threatening-looking, but otherwise harmless objects…
Wouldn’t it be REALLY cool to bring all the kids and teachers together at Ahmed ‘s school ?
Yes some adults have been as dump as **** but in many ways that not any individuals fault. There’s always room for compassion and education.
It could go two ways; Ahmed leaves his school, his attorney gets all legal on the school and police for being daft. One deserving kids comes out of it well but the rest… less so.
Show the police, teachers and children what kids (and us grownups) and doing with Arduinos and LED’s and Cosplay and Robots and Adafruit stuff!
What about an Adafruit Maker Faire at the school ?
Now wouldn’t that be a thing of beauty ?
“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.”
I never read a code of school conduct that prohibited circuit boards and LCD displays.
It is probably good to get permission from the school principal before you take anything to school. Permission is authority to do something as long as the communication is clear and everything is explained. The other issue is that teachers are your instructors and not your friends just like people will have to learn in the real world that people you work with are your co-workers and not always your friends.
Part of me thinks that the teachers are handling security and they are educated from the movies instead of getting real life instruction.
The other half of me doesn’t know what happened so I’m reserving judgment. I am married to a former school teacher and too many times parents believe the students over the teacher. I’ve also been in school when most of the time, my peers did too many wrong things.
A lot of people work on the assumption that if they don’t report something, they will get in trouble.
Another thing to think about is the consequences as people with arrest records are not allowed to enter Canada in almost all cases unless they file paperwork.
I will state he is innocent until proven guilty so I’ll give the young man the benefit of the doubt.
There’s a fundraiser going on to get Ahmed a Scholarship fund (based on 9 months at MIT)
It would be awesome if this boy got all the encouragement possible to keep tinkering http://www.gofundme.com/h94barqn
Please let me know if you get in touch with Ahmed and his family. I’d like to buy him a gift certificate. #IStandWithAhmed
Talked to my kids about the news, and my daughter posted this mini project in support: