â€œClock kidâ€ Ahmed Muhamed was a victim of paranoia about violence in schools and, perhaps, some ugly ethnic assumptions. He has asked for an apology, and he deserves it.
He does not, however, deserve $15 million.
Attorneys for Mohamed, 14, and his family want $15 million in damages and apologies from several officials stemming from Mohamedâ€™s September 14 arrest, when he brought to school a homemade clock that a teacher flagged as a possible bomb. â€¦
Demand letters issued by Mohamedâ€™s attorneys on Monday sought $5 million from the Irving Independent School District and $10 million from the City of Irving in addition to written apologies from the Irving ISD and the cityâ€™s mayor and police chief.
The letter to Irving ISD alleges several violations of school policy, including that employees â€œdisregarded the districtâ€™s written policies and procedures by detaining, interrogating and attempting to coerce a confession from Ahmed.â€ The letter also claims Mohamed suffered â€œsevere psychological traumaâ€ and was harassed by officials.
The letter to the City of Irving asserts that Mohamedâ€™s constitutional rights were violated.
â€œLetâ€™s face it, if Ahmedâ€™s clock were â€˜Jenniferâ€™s clock,â€™ and if the pencil case were ruby red bedazzled with a clear rhinestone skull and crossbones on the cover, this would never have happened,â€ the letter states.
This last point is certainly false. As I have explained numerous times, kids of every color and creed are routinely mistreated by school officials and police officers for making gestures, holding items, and playing with others in a perfectly safe, healthy, reasonable manner. Hereâ€™s a partial list of students disciplined for dubiously disrupting public safety in school:
- â€œLittle Boy Suspended for Pointing Finger Like a Laser Gun.â€
- â€œSchool Suspends Kid for Twirling Pencil & Subjects him to 5-HOUR Evaluation!â€
- â€œKid Twirls a Pencil in Class, N.J. Threatens to Take Him From His Dad and Requires Blood and Urine Testing.â€ (Pencil-twirling: the hidden dangers of Americaâ€™s schools, evidently.)
- â€œGirl Writes About Pot in Her Diary, School Reads It and Suspends Her All Year.â€
- â€œFelony weapons charge for student who brought fishing supplies to school.â€
- â€œHearing Examiner: School Was Right to Suspend Little Boy Who Chewed Pop-Tart Into Shape of Gun.â€
- â€œToy gun made of paper gets kid tossed from school.â€
- â€œDrawing of Cartoon Bomb Gets Middle School Student Suspended in South Carolina.â€
Muhamedâ€™s lawyers claim â€œJenniferâ€ would never have been detained over a skull-and-crossbones pencil case; this assertion is just flatly wrong. Remember the white kid who was suspended and arrested for wearing an NRA T-shirt? Remember about Alan Holmes?
Clock kid should get his apology, but he should also get a dose of reality: he is not the first victim of overzealous policing in schools, nor is the injustice committed against him among the most egregious Iâ€™ve ever seen.