'So You Tried to Make a Bomb?': Texas Teen Detained After Teacher Mistakes Homemade Clock for Explosive

Ahmed Mohamed's family suspects that he was mistreated because of his name


An Irving, Texas, ninth grader was detained by local police on Monday after he brought a homemade clock to school that his teacher mistook for a bomb, PEOPLE confirms.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a MacArthur High School student who has reportedly been recognized for his inventions previously, told The Dallas Morning News that he brought the clock to MacArthur High School to show his engineering teacher.

“He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’ ” Ahmed said of the disappointing moment when he first brought out the box that held the digital clock, made of a circuit board and a power supply wired to a display. ” ‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’ ”

But when the clock inadvertently beeped in the middle of English class, that teacher complained and Ahmed was forced to show her his invention. “She was like, it looks like a bomb,” he told the paper. He denied it, but the teacher confiscated the clock anyway.

Later in the day, Ahmed was pulled out of class and taken to a room where multiple police officers waited. “They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’ ” Ahmed said.

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

Subsequently, Ahmed was led out of his school in handcuffs, taken to a juvenile detention center and fingerprinted, before his parents picked him up.


“He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the paper. “But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”

Ahmed’s family told the paper that he has been suspended from school for three days for the incident.

MacArthur High School did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but in a letter sent to parents at the school, Principal Daniel Cummings wrote that Ahmed had violated the school’s code of conduct. “I recommend using this opportunity to talk with your child about the Student Code of Conduct and specifically not bringing items to school that are prohibited,” he wrote.

In a press conference Wednesday, Irving police said that they are confident the device was not a bomb and that no charges will be filed in the case, which is now considered closed.

When asked why Ahmed was handcuffed, Chief Larry Boyd told reporters that it’s standard procedure, adding: “We need to make sure we have the person completely in our control,” according to Dallas Morning News reporter Naheed Rajwani.

A police spokesman went on to say that the allegations of racism are completely unfounded. “This has blown up, I think, largely for reasons that are untrue,” he said, per Rajwani.

“It was simply the circumstances that they knew at the time and as you can see by the device, what they were dealing with…. We will work to rebuild any concern with the local community here and with the family.”

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