A 14-year-old Texas boy was arrested and taken to juvenile detention Monday after teachers mistook the homemade electronic clock he had brought to school for a bomb.
Ahmed Mohamed, a Grade 9 student at MacArthur High School in Irving, has been suspended for three days. Police initially said he may face charges of making a hoax bomb, but later said the case had been closed without charges.
Police acknowledged that Ahmed had insisted to teachers, the principal and police that his creation was nothing but a clock.
The clock consisted of a circuit board and battery wired to a red LED digital display, encased inside a metal box with a tiger hologram on it, the type of case "you could get a Target for five, 10 dollars," Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News.
Here's a better look at the clock that got 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed arrested at his Texas school pic.twitter.com/KfJE4dwx3D— @cbcsteve
He showed it to his engineering teacher Monday morning.
"He was like, 'That's really nice,'" Ahmed said. "'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'"
Ahmed put the clock in his bag after that, but the alarm went off during English class. He showed his invention to the teacher after class was over.
"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 and the principal called police. Officers pulled Ahmed out of class, questioned him, handcuffed him and took him to juvenile detention, where his fingerprints and mug shot were taken, he said.
"It made me feel like I wasn't human. It made me feel like a criminal," he told the Dallas Morning News.
When the story began circulating on Twitter Tuesday night, many people questioned the reaction of teachers and police to Ahmed's homemade clock, and sympathized with his story.
Linda Moreno, an attorney representing Ahmed, said the family is considering taking legal action against police after officers interrogated, handcuffed, searched, booked and fingerprinted the teen.
Ahmed is planning on transferring to another school, and according to an Associated Press report, the family is considering legal action against the police.
Was the bomb squad called? Was the school evacuated? No. They knew this wasn't a real threat, they just wanted to put a kid in his place.— @dansinker
Ahmed Mohamed knew he'd built a clock. His teacher wasn't smart enough to realize that, nor did she believe him. It all started there.— @JamilSmith
"He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again." This is one of the saddest things I've read recently. http://t.co/ifAUkm9LSm— @iSmashFizzle
How to tell if a clock is a bomb, or just a clock. Ask: Is it a bomb? If no, DO NOT ARREST. Clocks are in fact legal. #supportAhmedMohamed— @MuslimIQ
Ahmed's family began circulating a photo of him, dressed in a NASA T-shirt, being taken away in handcuffs.
I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed's sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB— @anildash
That shirt resonated with many on Twitter.
A child in a NASA t-shirt with big ole glasses carrying a CIRCUIT BOARD How do you think anything but Nerd?— @Blackamazon
No matter how much we love this lil boy down AND INTERNET WE BETTER! if he's not in somebody's space camp we have failed our duties as nerds— @Blackamazon
In fact, several people at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory did send Twitter shoutouts and invitations to Ahmed.
Hi @IStandWithAhmed ! I'd love you to join us for our science show Generator in Toronto on 28 Oct. There's a ticket waiting for you.— @Cmdr_Hadfield
Anytime you wanna see Mars rovers Ahmed, let me know. #IStandWithAhmed— @cirquelar
Hey Ahmed, give me a call in a couple years. We could always use smart, curious & creative people. https://t.co/02a4feMrk5— @tweetsoutloud
The school's principal and the school district released statements to parents and the media, and those didn't go over too well on Twitter.
The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed emerged for people who felt the teen had been treated unfairly because of his race, religion and name.
#IstandWithAhmed because being a creative black muslim teenager is now a crime— @lunarnomad
Ahmed's story went viral thanks to some mentions by celebrities, including Montel Williams and The Roots' Questlove Gomez.
#IStandWithAhmed — stay strong little brother. you are a genius and we all support your incredible passion for innovation + technology.— @UncleRUSH
By mid-Wednesday morning, a Twitter account set up on Ahmed's behalf began acknowledging all of the worldwide attention his story had received.
Thank you fellow supporters. We can ban together to stop this racial inequality and prevent this from happening again pic.twitter.com/fBlmckoafU— @IStandWithAhmed
And by midday Wednesday, Ahmed's story had crossed the desks of some of the most powerful people in the U.S.
Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1— @HillaryClinton
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.— @POTUS