#IStandWithAhmed: Arrest of Texas Student with Homemade Clock Brings...

column | Student Voice

#IStandWithAhmed: Arrest of Texas Student with Homemade Clock Brings Social Media Storm

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     Sep 16, 2015

#IStandWithAhmed: Arrest of Texas Student with Homemade Clock Brings Social Media Storm

By now, you’ve probably heard about Ahmed Mohamed, an Irving, Texas student who was arrested on Monday for… bringing a clock to school? A STEM enthusiast, Mohamed brought a digital clock he’d made to school to show his teachers on Monday, but soon after, was arrested by local police after the school reported that Mohamed had created a “hoax bomb.”

"They arrested me and they told me that I committed the crime of... a fake bomb," the Irving Macarthur High School freshman later explained to WFAA after the authorities released him from holding.

On Wednesday, September 16, Irving police announced that Mohamed will not be charged. But despite the release, Tweeters and Facebook users have come to the teen’s side in support, posting with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. In the past 24 hours, the hashtag has been mentioned more than 209,000 times, according to social analytics site Topsy.

From the political side, politicians are stepping up to show their support, with President Obama extending a White House special invitation to Mohamed.

Other politicians who’ve taken to the web include presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and Rep. Keith Ellison, who offered his support.

STEM and engineering organizations like NASA and CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg are using Twitter and Facebook to express their belief in STEM instruction for students, and share how they hope that incidents like this won’t discourage students from following their passions. The NASA Tweet comes at a most appropriate time, as Mohamed was wearing a NASA t-shirt when he was arrested.

A smaller but steadily growing collection of individuals and news sites is calling out this incident as indicative of racism in schools and society. Vox.com writer Max Fisher said the school could use the event as "a teaching moment to discuss racism and profiling.” Instead, faculty suspended Mohamed for three days and sent out the following letter to parents, where no admission of any mistakes on the school’s part is made.

Not everyone is standing in support of Mohamed; amongst the Tweeters, there are those who are sharing that the wrongful arrest is being blown out of proportion, expressing confusion as to the "trending-ness” of the event. As such, some are calling for the incident to be a subject for tonight's Republican GOP debate; while arrests at schools are typically a matter of local police and government, the incident has raised questions--at the federal level--of discriminatory behavior by police.

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