A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit brought by Ahmed Mohamed, the 9th grader who was arrested in 2015 for bringing a clock to school.
U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay on Thursday ruled the boy failed to prove discrimination, according to CBS News. The judge gave the teen’s legal team until June 1 to file an amended complaint against Irving Independent School District, high school principal Daniel Cummings and the city of Irving.
Ahmed gained national attention in 2015, when he brought an alarm clock he had built to his Dallas-area high school. Rather than applaud the boy’s smarts, school administrators accused Ahmed of trying to “make a bomb” and had him arrested.
A photo of the bewildered 14-year-old at the school, handcuffed and wearing a NASA T-shirt, went viral at the time:
I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed's sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
Charges against Ahmed were ultimately dropped, but the school suspended him for three days.
School district lawyers Kathryn Long and Carlos Lopez said the decision to dismiss the lawsuit “recognized the challenging situations faced by the individuals who serve our communities in public schools.”
“Schools and principals must make decisions every day regarding student safety,” the lawyers said in a statement to HuffPost. “The opinion confirms that there was no suggestion of discriminatory intent by any school district employee.”
The Irving Police Department defended officers’ actions when Ahmed was arrested as a necessary precaution.
“It was a very suspicious device. We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,” Chief Larry Boyd told FOX 4 in 2015. “Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen. We have to err on the side of caution.”
Here’s a photo of the clock, which Ahmed built in a pencil case:
This is the photo of @IStandWithAhmed's clock passed out by the @IrvingPD at this morning's press conference pic.twitter.com/9bs2LEvi9P
— Robert Wilonsky (@RobertWilonsky) September 16, 2015
Ahmed’s lawyers filed the lawsuit in 2016, claiming a pervasive anti-Muslim undercurrent in the school and in Texas. As evidence, they cited the Texas State Board of Education’s 2010 decision to limit references to Islam in state textbooks, “claiming that the materials were ‘tainted’ with ‘pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions.’”
The boy’s family moved to Qatar for safety reasons after the incident, where he was awarded a scholarship from the country’s Young Innovator’s Program.
“I get a lot of hate,” Ahmed said in 2016, when the suit was filed. “I got a lot of support in the beginning, but then again, it’s the hate that sticks. … I get death threats. What did I ever do to someone to get death threats?”
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