Ahmed's clock proves reality of the school to prison pipeline
One kid, one clock, and one set of handcuffs set the nation ablaze this week. Ahmed Mohamed was detained by officers from the Irving Police Department for bringing a homemade clock to school that his teacher mistook for a bomb.
In an effort to defuse the clock–and the situation–the police were called and Ahmed was arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school.
Officials later learned that Ahmed’s faux bomb was just a homemade clock and he had no intention of harming anyone. It was all, as stated by the police, just a misunderstanding.
If only misunderstandings were that simple.
Since the melee, Ahmed has been invited to the White House, MIT, and Facebook for his creativity. Each organization or group has shown support for Ahmed due to his unfair arrest.
But the unfairness tagged to his arrest has more to do with Ahmed’s culture and skin color than safety.
Ahmed Mohamed was born in America, is Muslim, and his parents aren’t native. The stereotypes associated with Ahmed’s existence led to his arrest, not a clock misidentified as a bomb.
According to study by the University of Pennsylvania, students of color, specifically black students, are suspended at a much higher rate than white students. While Ahmed isn’t black, he is considered to be a student of color.
The study also notes that in 84 districts within the 13 states studied, “blacks were 100 percent of students suspended from school.”
This perpetuates an unfortunate theory that students of color are pushed towards prison instead of higher education.
Ahmed is a curious kid who enjoyed putting things together and fixing broken electronics. He was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, which on so many levels, means that a part of his creativity was doused due to racism, stereotypes, and ignorance.
We need to push more kids like Ahmed to advance boundaries, not punish their ability to blow by them.
Too bad Ahmed’s lesson about how rules are applied to certain students, culture, and races were learned through his ability to be creative.