Sep 17, 2015 Garbage: Arresting and suspending brilliant teen for bringing his homemade clock to school. Ahmed Mohamed rocks!
In elementary and junior high school, the teachers sometimes called me out justifiably — usually for my talking during lessons — and sometimes unjustifiably, for instance when a teacher wrongfully accused me of playing at the apartment across the street based merely on a report of a brown-haired boy in a blue jacket, which helped influence me to become a criminal defense lawyer.
All that pales in comparison to the horrendous school and police mistreatment of fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, by now justifiably a worldwide celebrity and hero who excitedly brought his homemade clock to school in Irving, Texas earlier this week, only to be recognized for his brilliance and eagerness to learn and achieve, by having a teacher seize his invention, the school rat him to the police, the police interrogate and handcuff and in the process terrorize him (apparently denying his requests to have his parents present for any questioning), the police charge him with a hoax bomb, the police decide not to pursue charges but keep his clock, and the school keep his three-day suspension in place without an apology and instead with a cynical, public relations disaster letter to parents about the incident that includes encouraging reporting suspicious activity.
What good has come of this awful situation?
-Ahmed’s supporters have shined the light on the excessive racism that exists for suspecting Muslims of terrorism, whether or not any racist motivations were involved in Ahmed’s case.
-Ahmed is set for life with a great career path, already having been invited for visits by President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and a high-level NASA scientest, in addition to being celebrated widely for the very innovation, zest for life and its possibilities, and love of learning that all people should be encouraged to pursue.
-School administrators and police nationwide have learned once again that the beauty of the Internet, social media, and free press protections will often shine the light on their misdeeds, making them think twice before committing future misdeeeds.
-With all of the support Ahmed has received this week, he can move forward from his awful mistreatment. Congratulations for Ahmed’ for at once acknowledging how awful was his mistreatment and keeping a sunny disposition about his great current and future life.
-Congratulations to Ahmed for having the resources and support for his parents to switch schools. In so doing, his now-former Irving, Texas, high school loses face and a great student as well as morale among Irving high school students disgusted by the school’s and police mistreatment of Ahmed.
The school’s and police mistreatment of Ahmed are far from isolated to Irving, Texas. So long as ours remains such an excessive police state, excessive police abuse will continue. So long as the appellate courts continue to water down students’ rights for conduct, disciplinary and search and seizure matters, too many schools will continue trampling on students and their dignity, and will continue all too often imposing all-to-strict discipline.
For every Ahmed Mohamed, many more students suffer mistreatment by schools and police without their plights ever seeing the light of public scrutiny and outcry. Do not let injustice happen without at the very least shining an effective light on it and speaking up effectively.
If you are a student or parent of a student, I encourage you to learn about the student discplinary and treatment policy and procedures about the schools you are considering before you sign up. You can review the school’s disciplinary rules, talk with students at the schools, review media reports, and check the information on specific schools through the work and website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Ahmed Mohamed rocks!