Fourteen-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested yesterday for bringing a clock to school, after his teacher and police confused it for a bomb. While charges were eventually dropped, the school district issued a memo to parents stating that it succeeded in its goal of keeping students safe. That memo fails to acknowledge that it confused an incident ultimately fueled by Islamophobia for a legitimate one, instead showing the school trying to hide behind the reasonable aim of taking school security seriously.
In a memo sent to parents, MacArthur High School principal Dan Cummings states that the local police responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus. That item turned out to be a clock Mohamed invented for class. Despite the confusion and subsequent media fiasco, parents are now urged to take this opportunity to go over the Student Code of Conduct, as bringing dangerous items to school is strictly prohibited.
Read the document in full below:
This memo obfuscates the particulars, giving a veneer of legitimacy to what happened. Rather than responding to a suspicious package on campus, the school responded to a device that Ahmed Mohamed freely presented to his teacher. Rather than discovering that the device was safe, they ignored Mohamed stating that it was simply a clock. And the memo completely ignores that, in conducting its investigation, the authorities profiled a teenager and effectively pit his school and community against him.
Parents should also keep in mind that clocks don't appear anywhere in the Student Code of Conduct:
For his part, Mohamed and his family are looking into legal action. We wish them luck.
Update 3:55pm ET: A previous version of this piece stated that Ahmed Mohamed was arrested this morning. He was arrested on Monday. We apologize for the error.
Police statement on the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed