IRVING, Texas — A 14-year-old Muslim high school student was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school to show his teachers.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Ahmed Mohamed, a ninth-grader at MacArthur High School in Irving, built the clock in 20 minutes with a circuit board, power supply, some wires, a digital display, held together by a pencil case with a tiger hologram on the front.
Though the clock was impressive, when he took his homemade clock to show his teachers, their responses were anything but positive.
Mohamed told the Morning News he first brought the creation to his engineering teacher, whose only response was: "‘That’s really nice ... I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”
Then in English, his teacher complained about the device beeping in class. After he brought out his clock to show her, he said she responded: “She was like, it looks like a bomb,” Mohamed said.
The English teacher confiscated the clock and during sixth period, the principal and five police officers pulled Mohamed out of class, according to the paper.
Mohamed told the News he remembered hearing an officer he had never seen before say “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
The police and principal questioned him and searched his belongings. Mohamed told the paper that the principal also threatened to expel him if he didn't provide a written statement.
Police spokesman James McLellan told Dallas Morning News that Mohamed never said the device was anything more than a clock. In fact, McLellan said, police had no reason to think it was dangerous.
Yet the police were still suspicious they weren't given the full story from Mohamed.
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan told the Dallas Morning News. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation ... The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”
At 3 p.m., he was led out of the school in handcuffs and taken to juvenile detention where he met his parents after taking prints.
The principal has suspended him for three days.
“They thought, ‘How could someone like this build something like this unless it’s a threat?’” Ahmed said.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” Ahmed’s father, an immigrant from Sudan, told the paper. “But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
Mohamed vowed never to take an invention to school again.
Many have taken to social media to express their anger and disgust at the incident by using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed.
Ahmed himself, tweeting from his account @istandwithahmed, thanked supporters in a post that was retweeted almost 3,000 times in over an hour.