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He built a clock and brought it to school. His teachers had him arrested. WTF?

This boy should have been celebrated, not arrested.

This is Ahmed. He's a really smart 14-year-old kid from Texas who likes to invent things.

In his free time, he's done things like build radios and fix go-karts. He wanted to show his teachers his passion for engineering, so he decided to make a digital clock. Here he is in a video for the Dallas Morning News, chatting about that.


Images from Dallas Morning News.

Made from some wires, a display, and a $10 pencil case, his clock was a DIY success!

Seriously, how cool is that?! Do you know how to build your own clock? I sure don't!


He brought the clock to school to show his teachers, and that's when things went very, very wrong.

He brought his clock to school to show his engineering teacher. "[My teacher] was like, 'That's really nice,'" Ahmed said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News, "'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'"

Wait, what? Why couldn't he show his other teachers? Ahmed was about to find out.

It was during his English class that the clock's alarm accidentally went off. When he showed the clock to his teacher, he says she told him, "It looks like a bomb," and confiscated it. Later that day, police officers showed up at the school and put the 14-year-old inventor in handcuffs. Yes, you read that right — in handcuffs.

"They were like, 'So you tried to make a bomb?'"

Ahmed told the police that no, he didn't try to make a bomb. He tried, and succeeded, in making a clock.

"[The cop] said, 'It looks like a movie bomb to me.'"

People on social media quickly came to Ahmed's defense, rallying behind the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag.

Some pointed out the obvious double standard that applies to people of color in comparison to white children.

Others marveled at Ahmed's intelligence and skill.


Writer Heidi Heilig made a few edits to the school's official statement to parents.


And he even got a personal note of encouragement from, you know, the president. No biggie.


Most importantly, there were the tweets from those whose love of science and engineering led to lifetime success.

Rather than being celebrated as a brilliant young mind, Ahmed was treated like a criminal. Instead of fostering his passion into a lifelong career, his teachers and local law enforcement appeared to do everything in their power to discourage him.



ThinkUp CEO and co-founder Anil Dash wants to give Ahmed the encouragement his school hasn't.

Dash set up a Google form where people can list how they'd like to help Ahmed create, learn, and just generally thrive.


So far, people have offered tours of Google, some quality time with the people behind the Mars rover, and building materials.

While what the school and local police did was horrific, the way the Internet has responded is heartwarming.

Check out Ahmed's interview with the Dallas Morning News below.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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