#IStandWithAhmed – Criminalising Science and Technology Curiosity

A fourteen-year-old boy in Texas was suspended from school and arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school to show his teachers. He was obviously looking forward to showing them that he was good at things like this. So, he got arrested because his teachers thought it looked too much like a bomb and called the police?

Read the story here.

When I was his age, I had an electronics set with the ability to make a rudimentary clock or calculator. No digital display, though. I enjoyed this kind of thing. I even took an electronics course in university. I could make both digital and analogue circuits, and one of the main things we did was make calculators.

Well, this kid, Ahmed, could do much more than that at fourteen years old. He’s good. He likes science and technology, it appears. This is sorely lacking in the United States these days as the anti-science and anti-intellectual movement pushes forward. He should be rewarded for taking an interest in technology and science, and he seemed quite enthusiastic about it. Enthusiastic enough to want impress his teachers, hoping that they’d praise him. That’s probably all he wanted. Validation. Instead, he gets handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention centre.

The teachers admitted it didn’t look dangerous. The police admitted it looked nothing like a bomb. Yet they still arrested and suspended him for doing absolutely nothing wrong! If he is charged, this could have repercussions that go beyond just these punishments, but it could affect his future.

The good thing is that the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag has gone viral, and even President Barack Obama has invited him to the White House. How’s that for support? Obama thinks this is ridiculous. The police chief dropped the case, thankfully. And the school sent out a letter saying that there was no danger. However, Ahmed needs apologies from his teachers.  He deserves those apologies, and those teachers should be required to apologise for being complete assholes. And since when is a science project, though all on his own, a prohibited object. I had no idea kids weren’t allowed to bring any timepieces to school.

But still, I can’t help but worry about how society in the US, as well as Canada (though in Canada, it’s more the conservative government rather than the people), has become so anti-science. Stupidity and ignorance is on the rise.

So, #IStandWithAhmed.

15 thoughts on “#IStandWithAhmed – Criminalising Science and Technology Curiosity”

    1. Well, everything’s turned out very well for him. He’s going to the White House to meet Obama, he’s been invited to visit the Facebook HQ and meet Mark Zuckerberg, and MIT has said he’d be perfect for them.

  1. When I first saw Ahmed’s story pop up, my first thought was “hoax”. Then I started seeing more stories about it and realized that this actually happened. What a shame. He’s not the only one who has a brought a homemade clock to school. He just the only one who’s been arrested for it. I know A LOT of scary stuff has happened in the past in American schools, but you would think teachers would still have the sense to look into things before making such a rash decision.

    1. I thought the teachers should’ve used some common sense. Nothing about that clock looked like a bomb. And he was said to be a good student, friendly, and no trouble at all.

      1. What burns me is that, okay, one teacher over reacts, but then the school (I’m assuming a different set of people) called the police. No one had the sense to say “Hey, that’s not a bomb, it’s a clock. This is a good, intelligent student who made this.” The caller isn’t the only one to blame here. So is everyone who didn’t speak up for him.

        1. The thing is, no one believed it was a bomb. If they did, they wouldn’t have left the clock in a room with Ahmed while they waited for the police. They wouldn’t have been examining it before the police arrived. The police fully admitted that they didn’t think it was a bomb at all when they saw it.

          And now Sarah Palin is saying he deserved it. What a bitch.

          1. So why was there so much pressure to arrest him if so many (including the officers) who could tell it was not a bomb? He’s smart to transfer schools, now. Too bad it had to come to that. I never liked Sarah Palin.

  2. I think that if Ahmed were a) white or b) not named Ahmed….this wouldn’t have happened.

    Also, Chris Hadfield invited him to a Science Fair he’s attending. That would be so cool!

  3. This story is truly disturbing, but please don’t judge the whole of the US education system by Texas, whose state education commission is notoriously awful. STEM is much more respected in other states, such as New York where I live.

  4. And America wonders why so many consider them dingbats. Ahmed’s experience typifies the bat shit hysteria of right wing fear mongering over common sense.It brings to mind medieval witch hunts or McCarthy era anti- communist campaigns. On the upside, Ahmed’s life will never be the same, he’s guaranteed opportunities and education. Maybe more racially profiled youngsters should bring clocks to school.

    1. Yeah, it’s amazing how this has turned out for him. America’s preoccupation with right wing attitudes has led to this kid having an amazing future. And that idiot Sarah Palin is just now chiming in on it with her opinion. You can imagine what she’s saying. It’s as if she has completely opposite thoughts of what I think.

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