Mohamed was arrested on suspicion of foul play when he brought a homemade clock to his school. Mohamed, a Muslim, was taken into custody by the Irving Police Department after a teacher reported to administrators the clock looked like a bomb. No charges are being filed.
“Ahmed Mohamed’s avoidable ordeal raises serious concerns about racial profiling and the disciplinary system in Texas schools. Instead of encouraging his curiosity, intellect and ability, the Irving [Independent School District] saw fit to throw handcuffs on a frightened 14 year-old Muslim boy wearing a NASA t-shirt and then remove him from school,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas.
“We should not deprive our children of liberty when they haven’t broken the law, and we should not suspend them from school when they haven’t broken the rules. The State of Texas in general and Irving ISD in particular need to take a long, hard look at their disciplinary policies to ensure that blanket prejudices and the baseless suspicions they engender don’t deprive our students of an educational environment where their talents can thrive.”
The arrest has led to Mohamed supporters, ranging from technology pioneer Mark Zuckerberg to President Barack Obama, to invite the student to a personal meeting. The incident has reignited the debate on racial profiling, terrorism and civil liberties.
The police department released a statement illustrating the cause for its actions. “School resource officers questioned the student about his intentions and the reasons why he brought the device to school. The student would only say it was a clock and was not forthcoming at that time about any other details. Having no other information to go on, and taking into consideration the device’s suspicious appearance and the safety of the students and staff at MacArthur High School, the student was taken into custody for possessing a hoax bomb,” according to information from the Irving Police department.
Texas law states it is illegal to possess a “hoax bomb” with the intention of causing alarm or reaction from law enforcement. Officer James McLellan said the police department is closing out paperwork related to the case and is releasing the confiscated property back to the family.
He said there are no pending hearings regarding the criminal investigation. McLellan also said he is unsure if the department is facing any legal action. “The Irving Police Department has always experienced an outstanding relationship with the Muslim community. We recognize situations like this present challenges, but we are committed to continuing to build a positive relationship,” according to information form the police department.
An inquiry to the Irving Independent School District was unanswered as of press time.