Last week, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested after bringing an alarm clock that he created from a pencil case to his high school. Mohamed wants to be an engineer and study at MIT and wanted to impress his teachers by exhibiting his exceptional talent in STEM areas. However, instead of receiving praise for his creation, Mohamed was arrested for creating a hoax bomb. Mohamed was interrogated by police without an attorney present, which seems equally as unjust as the rest of this incident. Police stated that Mohamed should have been more detailed in the description of his device beyond his simple response that the device was “just a clock.”
What was Mohamed supposed to do beyond repeatedly telling police that it was a harmless alarm clock? Police would not have let Mohamed demonstrate how the clock worked and the only other option was to act as though the police are as thick headed as they clearly are and explain piece by piece exactly how a clock works. This entire incident spiraled out of control due to the overreaction of Mohamed’s teachers.
I believe if Mohamed was a Caucasian student who had performed the exact same actions, then this story never would have become a headline. This incident is just one of far too many that is fueled by the racism and ignorance running rampant in our society. Even if the alarm clock that Mohamed built looked suspicious, there are plenty of other courses of action which could have been taken, none of which would have resulted in his arrest. If Mohamed’s teachers were suspicious of the alarm clock, they should have called the school’s resource officer and had them inspect the device. Instead of choosing a more logical solution to the problem, the overreactions of the teachers and police department in Irving, Texas, are to blame for Mohamed’s arrest.
As if all of this weren’t enough, the school also decided to suspend Mohamed even though he had done nothing wrong. I think if anyone should be suspended, it should be Mohamed’s hypersensitive teachers who shouldn’t be employed in the American school system if they cannot appreciate the enthusiasm students have for learning.
While his school has only made the incident worse, Mohamed has received support from several high-status individuals, including President Obama, who praised his hard work and encouraged him to keep his interest in the STEM field and invited Mohamed to the White House.
Since the incident occurred early last week, Mohamed has stated that he is “pleased that the charges were dropped and not bothered that police didn’t apologize for arresting me.” Mohamed is the most mature and sensible person involved in this incident, which is shown both by this statement and by his choice to obey police when they arrested him.
I agree that Mohamed should be pleased that police dropped the charges against him. However, I would have liked to see him try to receive an apology from the police department. It may seem petty of me to suggest this, but put yourself in Mohamed’s situation. If I were disappointed by my teachers, then arrested and escorted from school in handcuffs in front of all of my friends and classmates, only to then be interrogated without a lawyer present to determine what I had known all along, that I created an innocuous alarm clock and was completely innocent, then yes, I certainly would want a sincere apology from the police involved in the situation.
I hope that this incident will serve as an eye opener to individuals, school districts and police stations about why it is important to treat all people equally with respect and fairness, regardless of their ethnicity.