MacArthur High School officials in Irving, Texas, called the police after mistaking a digital clock built by a Muslim student, Ahmed Mohamed, for a bomb on Monday (video below).
"We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock," James McLellan, of the Irving Police Department, told WFAA. "He didn't offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school."
Mohamed was booked by police for having a fake bomb, a misdemeanor. However, the Dallas County District Attorneys office will decide whether or not to charge him.
Mohamed says he was suspended from school for three days. Today, President Obama invited him and his clock to the White House on Twitter.
However, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne defended the police and the school in a Facebook post on Monday:
I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel.
To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus. Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student.
I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.
RawStory.com notes that Duyne later added another paragraph:
As a parent, I agree that if this happened to my child I would be very upset. It is my sincere desire that Irving ISD students are encouraged to use their creativity, develop innovations and explore their interests in a manner that fosters higher learning.
Hopefully, we can all learn from this week’s events and the student, who has obvious gifts, will not feel at all discouraged from pursuing his talent in electronics and engineering.
Duyne told TheBlaze in March how the City of Irving opposes Sharia law (an extreme form of Islamic beliefs) from being imposed on residents, which could never happen under U.S. law.