It was a regular school day for Ahmed Mohamed on Monday, September 14 when he walked into the halls of MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. The one thing that was exceptionally different in his particular case was that he had come to school with a digital clock that he had made from a pencil case. He brought it in to show his engineering teacher, which he ended up doing, except the show and tell didn’t quite go as well as he had expected. His teacher’s reaction snowballed into a series of events that have easily made Mohamed one of the most highly sought after teenagers in the country.
Build a clock and bring it to school
Apparently, the clock was hardly Mohamed’s most elaborate creation yet. It took the boy genius all of 20 minutes to put his invention together. According to an interview with the Dallas Morning News, when Mohamed showed his engineering teacher his clock, “He was like, ‘That’s really nice, I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’” Mohamed recalled. He kept the clock inside his school bag in English class, but the alarm beeped in the middle of a lesson and he brought it up to show her after class. His English teacher was pretty sure his nifty invention was a bomb (If it looks like a clock, ticks like a clock and sounds like a clock, then it must be a bomb), so much so that she kept the clock and word somehow got to the Principal. That’s when stuff got real.
Sixth period came around and so did his school’s principal and a police officer. Mohamed was pulled out of class and taken to a room with other police officers who had apparently played the mental “I bet you I know what race and ethnicity the kid is…” game, because according to him, an officer he had never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” And then came the questions and interrogation:
“So you tried to make a bomb?” No, he was trying to make a clock.
“It looks like a movie bomb” No, it looks like a clock.
“How could someone like this build something like this unless it’s a threat?” Maybe because geniuses like to make things just because?
He was eventually put in hand cuffs and led down the halls of his school, much to the surprise of every student who witnessed his arrest. He didn’t quite make it to jail, but he was taken to a juvenile detention center where he was eventually released to his parents.
Receive an invitation to the White House & Inspire a movement
Reports of his arrest set off a social media frenzy, starting with #IStandWithAhmed, a hashtag created by Amneh Jafari, a senior at University of Texas Arlington. Since then, President Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Mark Zuckerburg and a host of politicians and celebrities have expressed their solidarity and support for him. In twenty-four hours, #IStandWithAhmed was the number one trending topic on Twitter.
Mohamed’s older sisters set up a Twitter account for him, @IStandWithAhmed, and watched it grow to thousands of followers within a very short period of time. The account, with a handle that has since been verified by Twitter was originally set up to provide news updates on Mohamed.
Ahmed Mohamed is officially legit; ironically, he always held greatness within, but it took him bringing a clock to school to launch this genius.
Image: LM Otero/AP (feature) & Vernon Bryant
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