Teen Arrested for Building a Clock That Teachers Mistook for a Bomb

This is not the way to treat smart kids.

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Today in penalizing nerdery and racial profiling, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to Irving MacArthur High, where he goes to school. Instead of congratulating him on something impressive that most 14-year-olds aren’t capable of, his teachers called the police for fear that he was trying to build a bomb.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Mohamed built the harmless clock on Sunday night and brought it in to show his engineering teacher. He wanted to demonstrate the kind of thing he likes to do in his spare time, because, “Here in high school, none of the teachers know what I can do.” Mohamed spends his spare time building radios and working on his go-kart, and he wanted to show his skills.

His engineering teacher was impressed but seemed uneasy as to how others might react, reportedly saying, “That’s really nice. I would advise you not to show any other teachers.”

However, he did show other teachers, and their reaction was disappointingly predictable. The police were called, reportedly saying, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was,” (despite the boy never having seen the officer before) when Mohamed arrived in the principal’s office.

Though Mohamed was released to his parents after fingerprinting, he hasn’t been allowed to return to school, and police told Dallas Morning News that they may still charge him with building a “hoax bomb” despite the fact that he never once said it was anything other than a clock. The shocked look on his face during the incident tells the entire, heartbreaking story pretty well on its own:

Mohamed’s father believes the incident was due to his family’s ethnicity, and Alia Salem of the North Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations agrees:

This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate. We’re still investigating,but it seems pretty egregious.

Meanwhile, nerds have been rallying around Ahmed Mohamed on Twitter with #IStandWithAhmed (and a brand new Twitter account @IStandWithAhmed that you can follow for updates and support), because it’s terrible to see a talented child discouraged.

(via Gizmodo)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.