Lots of outrage one way or another about the Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed who brought a “home made” clock to school which was confused as a bomb leading to an arrest and suspension.
Photo released by Irving Police Department:
From a technical standpoint there really isn’t anything there to make it look like an explosive device, but in all honesty I cannot fault a teacher needing to make a decision that it does arguably look like a timing device. Reporting it to the principal/administrator for further review is an appropriate course of action.
I can even defend detainment if they felt police should be involved to determine if there was any risk to the public, but arrest is overblown for this situation.
What caused this over reaction? Zero tolerance in schools.
Instead of actually bothering to use our intelligent minds that schools should be focusing on teaching out to use critical thinking we are instead confined to locations that train you to regurgitate information and methods to pass standardized tests. Standardized tests are not the problem, but we have fundamentally lost focus of the old English proverb: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
People trying to claim this over reaction was due to his ethnicity or religion based on name is absurd. Were a student of any other skin color or religion to do the same they would suffer the same over reaction because schools can’t think themselves.
How do I know this with a certainty? Because as a white male high school student I would have been treated the exact same. I was in fact when I was caught using school computers in a computer lab to play video games during lunch time. No threats occurred to the public and no physical harm to the equipment. Simply put I was doing something I was not supposed to do, but it resulted in a 3 day in school suspension due to use of computer technology and zero tolerance idiocy of adherence to a policy they don’t even understand.
Debunking the clock as fraud
Now people are making claims that the “home made” clock is anything but based on the release of the photo.
There is much factual basis for the assertions made there since you are dealing with printed circuit boards and 120 VAC power supply that just would not be found a strict “home made” build . This short video looks very familiar to the police photo.
I will not however go as far to say it was for publicity reasons or nefarious purposes to create a panic intentionally. It is theoretically plausible that the student’s parents either had access to raw materials or they intentionally disassembled a store bought clock for the student to re-assemble.
The moral of the story is that bringing an item like this to school is something that you can do, but not the smartest choice. There should be some learning involved to understand the risk of misunderstands in a public space that does have to deal with terrorism. It is a situation that teaches maturity, but one that should not have any permanent consequences.
The political correctness however is sending the wrong message by idolizing this student and the outcry over the punishment. I can agree the punishment is overblown simply due to their zero tolerance, not due to any racial or religious reasons.
There is a very strong risk that this student or others watching will get the idea that creating publicity and renown for in effect doing nothing special will be rewarded with fame and success. The only due rewards for this action is a life lesson, opportunity to show/grow character, and gain some maturity. I hope the child learns fast that everything else that is happening is people trying to use him and the situation for their benefit, not out of genuine care of concern.