School Administrators

By now, we’ve all heard the tale of Ahmed Mohammed, who brought a clock to school, and was treated as though he’d brought a bomb to school. [1]

The school was well within their bounds to inspect the device. Ahmed was more than willing to show it off. That should have been the end of all concern.

My thoughts are:

1. If the kid said he had a bomb, the school acted appropriately.

2. If the kid had been asked NOT to bring in his device, but did anyway, the school acted appropriately.

However, it is my understanding that neither of these are what happened. He showed a teacher, who freaked out, and the school overreacted.

How did they overreact? Let’s review what the word “hoax” means:

hoax (n): a humorous or malicious deception. [2]

When the school found out that the device was not a bomb, they concluded that this was a bomb hoax. However, how could this have been a bomb hoax when,

“Irving Police spokesman Officer James McLellan told the station, “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock.”

Maybe because it was a clock, and the boy was cooperating fully with law enforcement. If he had said that it was a bomb, then calling this incident a “bomb hoax” would have been appropriate. Instead, he said a clock was a clock, and was arrested for a “bomb hoax.”

The arguments I’ve seen online accuse the school of racism. Maybe, but probably not. This is a typical case of a school official not understanding something and becoming intimidated. When the administration is proven wrong, they become butt-hurt and make up something with which to charge the students.

This isn’t limited to Muslim boys with clocks. If you haven’t read “Rocket Boys,” by Homer Hickam, Jr., I strongly recommend it. It was made into a major motion picture called “October Sky,” so perhaps you are more familiar with the movie. In this story, a few white West Virginia boys in the 1950’s decide to build rockets instead of playing football or learning to mine coal. They are eventually arrested for “arson” for a fire that their rocket could not have set.

Really, what is happening here is that the public school system is a place where innovation goes to die. We pretend that the school administration is tolerant of different people because we let students wear what they would like, or decorate their lockers, or whatever non-essentials we call “individuality.”

Ahmed is a student who is truly different; not because of his race or his religion, but because he sees a set of electronic components and a pencil box and imagines something greater. He then tries to share it with his teachers and classmates, and is instantly reprimanded for being different.

For those of you who have read Anthem, remember that there was a street sweeper who learned about the electric light. Can you see the parallels from the employment folks in Anthem and the administrators at this school?

What they are attacking is a much more brutal and much more sinister attack than race or religion. They are attacking his free mind.

The only thing the administration had correct was that there was a threat to them in that room; though the threat lived in Ahmed’s mind, not in his pencil box. The threat was that he chose to know, and that he chose to reason.

Thank you for reading this post.

[1], accessed 9/21/15.

[2], accessed 9/21/15.


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