A 14-year-old ninth-grader at a high school in Dallas was arrested for bringing a clock to school, according to a report.
Ahmed Mohamed on Monday brought into a school a homemade clock, complete with a digital dispay, circuit board, and power supply. He told The Dallas Morning News that his intention was to show the clock to other tech enthusiasts in the hopes of finding those with an interest in building gadgetry. Instead, teachers at the school thought it looked like a bomb, which led to his arrest and outcry from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, according to the report.
The Dallas Morning News, which spoke with Mohamed and his family, said he initially showed the device to an engineering teacher at his school. While the teacher thought his invention—which took 20 minutes to build—was "really nice," Mohamed was advised not to show anyone else. During English class, however, the alarm on the clock went off, leading his teacher to examine the device and claim "it looks like a bomb," according to Mohamed. The English teacher kept the clock, and by sixth period, Mohamed was brought into a room where his school's principal and four police officers were waiting, he told The Dallas Morning News.
Mohamed claims that the principal attempted to get him to admit that he was trying to build a bomb. He kept saying that it was just a clock, but was ultimately handcuffed and escorted out of the school. In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, a police spokesman said Mohamed failed to give "broader explanation" to why he'd build the device and bring it to school.
"It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car," the spokesman told the news outlet. "The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?"
While police continue to investigate the matter, Mohamed has been suspended from school. His family argues that the arrest and the ongoing investigation is a form of "Islamophobia," or prejudice against Muslims. His father told The Dallas Morning News that while his son "wants to invent good things for mankind," he believes his boy was a victim of prejudice.
"Because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated," he told the paper.
Looking ahead, Mohamed will likely be allowed back into school. However, the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the issue is far from resolved and the organization is "investigating" the "pretty egregious" matter. The organization, which promotes human rights and fair treatment of Muslims in the U.S., did not say how it would respond if it ultimately determines that Mohamed was a victim of prejudice.