Obama, others respond to Texas teen’s arrest over clock

A Texas teen who was arrested for what authorities said was a bomb hoax after bringing a homemade clock to class has many rallying around him, including the president of the United States.

“Cool clock,” President Obama tweeted from his official account Wednesday afternoon, shortly after Texas authorities announced Ahmed Mohamed, 14, would not face criminal charges, “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

The whole ordeal for Mohamed began three days ago, when he was handcuffed, arrested, and interrogated by police in Irving, Texas.


Created using a circuit board, a digital display, wires, and other items, the high school freshman brought his clock to school on Monday, in hopes of impressing his engineering teacher. Instead, he was arrested.

Mohamed brought the project to school “to show her something small, at first,” said the teen of his teacher in a video posted on the Dallas Morning News website. But his good intentions turned into an encounter with authorities when “they thought it was a bomb.”

“An officer and the principal came and they took me up and they took me to a room filled with five officers, which they interrogated me and searched through my stuff and took my tablet and my invention,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed said he was then taken to a juvenile detention center, where they took his fingerprints and mugshots and continued to search him until his parents came. He was suspended from school for three days.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, at his home in Irving, Texas.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, at his home in Irving, Texas.Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP/Associated Press

Officials on Wednesday announced that Mohamed will not face charges. Initially suspended for three days, there’s been no word on whether or not his suspension still holds.

Irving police insisted that the matter had nothing to do with race or religion. Police Chief Larry Boyd said that the reason Mohamed was not charged was because he didn’t intend to cause alarm. “We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,’ Boyd said.


School officials echoed Irving police’s statement, with a district spokeswoman saying that the reaction to the clock would have been the same, regardless of skin color.

Mohamed’s story circulated widely upon publishing. By mid Wednesday afternoon, #IStandWithAhmed hashtag had over 300,000 tweets and @IStandWithAhmed has over 30,000 followers.

In fact, the story even reached the attention of some very big American icons.

Both President Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lauded Mohamed for his creativity and love of science. They’re both looking for a chance to meet the teen engineer, having extended invitations to the White House and Facebook headquarters respectively, via social media. Additionally, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for Mohamed, encouraging him to”stay curious and keep building.”

Below is a sampling of tweets about Mohamed:

You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @aimee_ortiz. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report