Days after administrators called for the arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed for bringing in what they suspected was a “bomb” (actually a homemade clock), MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, said that it would “certainly welcome” the teen back to school.
“We're confident that we can continue to provide him with an excellent education,” a school spokeswoman told ABC News.
But Ahmed’s family says the freshman is not at all interested in returning to MacArthur. His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, said Thursday that Ahmed will transfer out of the high school; the family is “still deciding where he will go next,” reports The Associated Press.
Ahmed was arrested on Monday after teachers became suspicious of the homemade clock that he’d brought to school.
“I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression from it,” the teen said in an interview this week.
Ahmed was eventually arrested by police and taken from the school in handcuffs. He was sent to a detention center, and later released to his parents.
Ayisha Mohamed, Ahmed’s 17-year-old sister, said her “heart just dropped” when she heard about her brother’s arrest. But, she told the AP: “It was a bad thing that turned into a blessing.”
This week, Ahmed has become something of a media superstar. Netizens have rallied around the teen, with the hashtags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed getting hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets. He’s also been deluged with words of support and affirmation from some of the biggest names in politics, science and tech.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama extended an invitation to Ahmed to visit the White House (which the teen gratefully accepted), while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told him to “stay curious and keep building.”
Facebook, Google, Twitter and Box all reached out to the teen, and on Wednesday, top astrophysicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein told him that he’s exactly the “kind of student we want at places like MIT,” a university that Ahmed has called his “dream school.”
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Wednesday.
According to reports, MacArthur High School has not apologized to Ahmed for the arrest, but has defended the actions of its staff.
“We do stand behind what the teacher did,” the school spokeswoman told ABC News.
She added that Ahmed's punishment for bringing the clock to school -- suspension for three days -- had not been lifted.
“Even though that particular item did not pose an immediately dangerous situation to the school, we cannot allow items on campus that can be perceived to pose a threat,” she said.
Earlier this week, The Verge published a memo that was allegedly sent out by the school to students' parents. In it, Principal Dan Cummings wrote that local police had responded on Monday to a “suspicious-looking item” on campus. He then encouraged parents to use “this opportunity to talk with your child about the Student Code of Conduct and specifically not bringing items to school that are prohibited.”
“This is a good time to remind your child how important it is to immediately report any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior," he added.
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne defended law enforcement and school officials for their actions against Ahmed.
“To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol,” she wrote on Facebook.
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