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MacArthur High School Kids Sound Off On Ahmed Mohamed

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MacArthur High School in Irving.

The case of Ahmed Mohamed is still reverberating around the world. He’s the Irving student who was suspended, handcuffed and taken into police custody after he brought a homemade clock to school. 

The skinny 14-year-old with glasses – a newly minted member of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math club at MacArthur High School -- recounted what happened to him on Monday in simple terms.

“I built a clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her,” he told reporters. “So it was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it and I got arrested for it later that day."

Not far from the boy’s house, as school let out at MacArthur High School on Wednesday, 10th grader Emmanuel Bustos said it was all kids could talk about.                                             

“I feel like over-reacted in arresting for something as simple as dismantling an alarm clock and putting it back together, thinking it was a bomb. It was a complete over-reaction.”

Most of the MacArthur students I talked to said the same thing. Many also said they were told they should not talk to media about the incident. For 12th-grader Sufyan Hassan, who moved to Irving from India, said the first thing that popped into his mind was that Ahmed is Muslim.

“How can a child bring a bomb to a school, he’s just a freshman,” Hassan said. “He can’t do these kind of things. That’s the sickest thing I’ve ever heard.”

A number of students said they could understand the school and police department reaction. 

“If something looks suspicious they’re supposed to handle the situation all the way until the end and investigate, you know,” said senior Tremell Gee, “until proven guilty or proven innocent and that’s what they did.” 

When Muslim mom AneeHuq came to pick up her freshman daughter at MacArthur High, she said she just wished teachers could trust kids a little more. She doesn’t know Ahmed, but she says she felt sad and anxious when she dropped her daughter off at school in the morning.

“I was just telling her not to argue about this…that maybe it would be harmful for you, that’s what I was believing,” Huq said. “But I mean, I shouldn’t do that, I should tell my kids to be more positive about that.”

After seeing an outpouring of support for Ahmed online – even a tweet from the president – Huq says she could be a bit more trusting herself.