I started my School Zone blog to promote positive messages in the field of education, support worthy causes, and to add to the publicity for museums and family oriented organizations. This post goes off mission.
If you haven't heard the story by now, a 9th grade engineering class student was handcuffed, brought to juvenile detention, and suspended for three days for bringing a homemade clock to school.
According to reports in The Dallas Morning News, Ahmed Mohamed had previously enjoyed robotics class in junior high and he had hoped to impress his high school engineering teacher with his ability to make things.
It seems another of Ahmed's teachers in a language arts class saw his project and thought it looked like the makings of a bomb. This led to the principal being alerted and the police called in. Ahmed was searched and interrogated by officers and eventually led away in handcuffs. Throughout the entire incident, Ahmed insisted it was nothing more than a clock. You can read the article fully from ">The Dallas Morning News.
Ahmed's sister is the one responsible for posting the picture, and she points out that he is wearing a NASA shirt.
This story just took me aback and struck a nerve. As a parent, I can't imagine my sons being treated like this at their school. Where was the rational and calm thinking in approach to this situation? How did this escalate so far? Could the counselor mentioned in the story add support for Ahmed's character? Could the engineering teacher have taken a closer look at the project, kept it in his lab, and explained why this might alarm some people?
Could the language arts teacher and principal have collaborated with the engineering teacher to fully understand what was going on? Could the principal have called Ahmed's parents to discuss the situation?
Didn't anyone have an inkling of this boy's character? Could anyone have called the junior high robotics class sponsor? Was calling the police really in order? Were handcuffs necessary? How about being led out in front of peers- necessary? Fingerprinted? Three day suspension- necessary, really?
I want to create one of those "Keep Calm" posters- perhaps "Keep Calm and Use Some Common Sense" and distribute to the staff at MacArthur High School.
A great injustice has been done to this child. It makes me angry, and sad for all of us --collectively. Can't we acknowledge that safety is a concern in our society, without resorting to handcuffs and humiliation?
In response to Ahmed's treatment, President Obama tweeted:
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
At least Ahmed will have one hell of a college entrance essay! Word of advice- choose an out-of-state school!
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