Texas schoolboy handcuffed after homemade clock mistaken for bomb

The Guardian is reporting that police and school authorities in Irving, Texas are under fire after arresting a 14-year-old boy for bringing a homemade clock into school.

 

Ahmed Mohamed, an engineering hobbyist, made the timepiece and brought it to school in the hope of impressing teachers and fellow students in his first few weeks at MacArthur High School. But when he showed it to an English teacher after it beeped during her lesson, she told him it looked like a bomb.

Later in the day, the school’s principal and a police officer came to pull him out of class, and again the principal told Ahmed that “it looks like a movie bomb to me”. Throughout, the student says, he told everyone who would listen that the device was a clock, but police still led him out of school at 3pm, according to local reports, “his hands cuffed behind his back and an officer on each arm”.

A police spokesman told the Dallas Morning News that they didn’t believe Ahmed was building the clock out of pure curiosity. “We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” he said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”

When asked what other explanation “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”

In a letter sent out by Dan Cummings, head of MacArthur High School, the principal told parents that “Irving Police Department responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus yesterday. We are pleased to report that after the police department’s assessment, the item discovered at school did not pose a threat to your child’s safety.”..

The actions of the school and police have also struck a chord with hackers across the world, who view the treatment of Ahmed as emblematic of a clampdown on the freedom to tinker with electronics. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation tweeted that “Making clocks is not a crime”, while Wired Magazine responded by posting their own instructions on How to Make Your Own Homemade Clock That Isn’t a Bomb”…

Ahmed has received a three-day suspension from class. According to the Dallas Morning News, he has vowed never to take an invention to school again.

More at: Texas schoolboy handcuffed for bringing homemade clock to school

 

UPDATE: It looks like there will be a silver lining for Ahmed (from Sky News): White House Invitation For Arrested ‘Clock Boy’

 

Oh dear.

And why has Ahmed now been suspended?

 

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