Nikita Richardson
September 16, 2015 9:15 am

Curiosity and creativity are typically thought of as desirable traits in a student, especially if they’re smart enough to turn their imagination into real, tangible work. But one Texas student was recently punished for an extracurricular project he brought to school — because it apparently resembled a bomb.

On Monday, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed built a digital display clock by hand and installed it into a cheap metal pencil box with plans of showing the project to his engineering teacher at MacArthur High School. According to the teen, the teacher appreciated the project, but warned Ahmed not to show it to other teachers. But after the clock accidentally beeped while he was in his English class, Ahmed showed it to his English teacher, who said the clock looked like a bomb, but let him go on with his school day.

Yet, a few periods later, Ahmed was escorted to the principal’s office, where he was met by four police officers.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News. “I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

Despite Ahmed’s repeated insistence that he never tried to make a bomb, he was soon handcuffed and escorted to juvenile detention, where officers told him that he could be charged with making a hoax bomb. Eventually, his parents arrived and he was released into their custody, but not before he was fingerprinted, had his mugshot taken, and was suspended for three days

“It made me feel like I wasn’t human,” Ahmed said. “It made me feel like a criminal.”

Luckily for Ahmed, he has a lot of people on his side, many of whom believe that Islamophobia and racial profiling (Ahmed is Muslim) played a significant role in the arrest of someone who for all intents and purposes is still just a kid.  

One of the people on Ahmed’s side? President Obama who sent this gorgeous tweet into the universe:

Once the above photo of Ahmed in handcuffs began circulating, the Twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed started trending and has since generated nearly 200,0000 tweets, including one from Ahmed himself thanking everyone for their support.

And here’s Ahmed’s tweet to his supporters:

All we have to say is don’t let this get you down, Ahmed. You’ve obviously got an incredibly bright future ahead of you and you shouldn’t let people with small minds hold you back. 

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[Images via Twitter]

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