Four police officers showed up at a public high school in Irving, Texas this week after a teacher and school officials mistook a freshman student’s homemade clock for a bomb.
The incident occurred on Monday at MacArthur High School, reports Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate WFAA.
The student, Ahmed Mohamed, brought his do-it-yourself clock to school in a Vaultz locking pencil box, which is a little case designed to look like a stylish, retro briefcase.
Mohamed, 14, had created the clock over the weekend, he said, by rigging a circuit board and a power supply to a digital display. It took less than 30 minutes, he claimed.
His plan for Monday was to show it to a teacher.
Officials said they worried that the clock was a bomb — either a real bomb or a pretend bomb — so they notified police.
There were wires inside the box connected to the clock.
According to police, Mohamed plugged the wires in his Vaultz pencil box into an electric socket on a classroom wall during English class.
The English teacher then impounded the pencil case.
A few hours later, four police officers summoned Mohamed out of his sixth-period class. They grilled him about the clock and searched his belongings.
Police say Mohamed did not handle the interrogation well.
The 14-year-old boy’s attitude was “passive aggressive,” according to officers on the scene. The cops also said Mohamed failed to provide a “reasonable answer” for why he had shown up at a school with a homemade electrical clock in a pencil case.
Mohamed said his answers were straightforward.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?'” Mohamed told The Dallas Morning News.
“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock,” the student said he explained.
“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.'”
Also, Mohamed claimed, when he showed up and saw all the officers, one of them said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
The police did not file charges against the freshman. However, they did confiscate his clock as well as his tablet computer.
Also, the cops put Mohamed in handcuffs and paraded him down a hallway in front of other students. The police then delivered Mohamed to juvenile detention where he was fingerprinted. His father — who immigrated to the United States from Sudan — eventually picked him up there.
The MacArthur High principal — Daniel Cummings, according to the school’s website — threatened to expel Mohamed if he did not cooperate and produce a written statement, according to the Morning News.
The principal ended up suspending Mohamed for three days, according to the boy’s family.
Police officers have defended their interrogation of the boy — and handcuffing him and sending him to juvenile detention.
“He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation,” police spokesman James McLellan told the Dallas newspaper.
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan added.
Cummings, the MacArthur High principal, released a terse statement. “We always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior,” the statement said.
Otherwise, school officials are citing student privacy laws and not talking further.
Naturally, the Dallas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has inserted itself into the timepiece tempest. (RELATED: CAIR Now ‘Stalking’ Professor It Doesn’t Like, Trespassing In His Class)
“I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed,” CAIR spokeswoman Alia Salem, told WFAA. “He is an excited kid who is very bright and wants to share it with his teachers.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Mohamed’s father, the principal, the local police chief and lawyers from CAIR will meet. (RELATED: CAIR Tries To Ban Professor’s Speech On ‘The Islamic Threat To America’)
Mohamed had showed his invention to the teacher for whom he brought it in the morning, before the English class.
That teacher prudently warned the freshman to keep the clock to himself the rest of the day.
“He was like, ‘That’s really nice,'” the boy explained to the Morning News. “I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'”
Mohamed’s story is unusual but not completely original.
In the spring of 2014, a popular science teacher at a public high school in Los Angeles was suspended for two months because a school employee was afraid that a couple science projects looked too much like terrifying weapons. Both projects used basic technology to shoot small projectiles. (RELATED: MORON: School employee feared kid’s science project resembled weapon, so star teacher suspended)
This summer, a student at Central Connecticut State University built flew and successfully fired the firearm attached to his do-it-yourself gun drone. Local police and the Federal Aviation Administration opened investigations into the weaponized drone. (RELATED VIDEO: Student Builds Working GUN DRONE, Posts It On YouTube. What Could Go Wrong?)