An aPology would be Right

      70 Comments on An aPology would be Right

Ahmed MohamedLet’s review the story: 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed brought a home-made clock to his high school in Texas. He was proud of his accomplishment and showed it to his teachers over the course of the day. Ahmed’s English class teacher saw the clock as well, but suspected it may be a bomb because of its appearance. She contacted the school authorities who then called police. The teenager, who happens to be Muslim, was arrested, handcuffed and put in a jail cell. He was released a few hours later and no charges were filed after the police confirmed the device was, indeed, a clock and not a bomb.

The outpouring of support for Ahmed was nationwide and viral. Many called the arrest an overreaction and blamed racial profiling and anti-Muslimism. On the other hand, some–including noted liberal and political comedian Bill Maher–volleyed back. On his live HBO show Friday night, Maher suggested people “drop the political correctness and consider that maybe being cautious is a good thing.” He said there’s nothing wrong with being a little suspicious when there’s a young Muslim student with something that “looks exactly like a (expletive) bomb” and there are young Muslims “blowing (expletive) up” all over the world.

Meanwhile, Ahmed has since been enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. Hashtags #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed saw hundreds of thousands of posts and tweets. Ahmad was offered internships at Reddit and Twitter. Google reserved a place for him at its science fair. MIT asked him to come to campus. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg posted, “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.” And President Obama praised Ahmed’s love of science while inviting him to the White House.

How one sees this case comes from personal attitudes. I believe what’s still missing are apologies from the school and police. Even Bill Maher added that apologies would be appropriate. There’s no embarrassment in making a mistake on the side of caution and a sincere “we’re sorry, we were mistaken” would be good for public relations.   Your thoughts?

70 thoughts on “An aPology would be Right

  1. premierorion

    I believe that if the teacher did legitimately think that there was a serious threat of it being a bomb it should have been reported. I think all the steps taken after it being reported were handled terribly by the school. I am glad that this story was brought to the attention of everyone and support was built for Ahmed Mohamed.

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  2. Bianca Kroening

    The school was 100% wrong. Reporting a possible bomb is a serious thing, and there really should be some sort of apology issued from the school to poor Ahmed. I’m so happy for all of the support this kid got from everyone!

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  3. jennamorace

    I personally think that you can’t blame the school for taking precautions for the situation at hand. God forbid something bad did happened at that was in fact a bomb, then im sure the teacher would have been blamed for not taking action. In this day and age it can’t hurt to be extra safe due to the crazy things that happen all the time. I think that the school most definitely owes him an apology for the misunderstanding and I hope they do not leave the problem as-is. People make mistakes all the time and this type of public relations issue cannot be unnoticed.

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  4. kgorsky1

    I was not especially surprised to hear about this news story last week. With our country’s current school climate and the constant threat of another school shooting, it is understandable that a teacher would have been cautious about a suspicious looking item in her classroom. Although I do not agree with the inappropriate actions took against Ahmed, I do believe that it was the right move to bring the attention of officials into the matter. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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  5. lourdesjc

    It’s a shame that a young boy’s pride in what he had accomplished turned into a nightmare. Perhaps Ahmed’s High School and the police authorities should undergo a few PR workshops. Their way of handling the situation was exaggerated. Even, after questioning him, the teacher school and authorities should have taken into account his way of conducting himself before assuming he was there to intentionally attack anyone. The clock should’ve been analyzed before attempting to arrest him. I agree it was definitely a case racial profiling, but I also understand the reaction of the teacher for suspecting the clock may not have been a clock taking into account the incidents this country has faced in schools and attacks on the nation. But, yet again it’s a shame that the mere appearance of this boy lead to a mediocre performance from the school and police authorities. Apologies should have definitely been delivered to Ahmed.

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  6. Mallory Marin

    Now let’s think about this. If we took the 14-year-old’s race and religion out of the story, do you think that the school would have been less threatened? Personally, with the number of school shootings within the past few years, I don’t think so. I believe that if a Caucasian student had brought in the same clock, it would look just as suspicious. However, because of the profiling of Muslims after 9/11, most people suffer from unconscious racial bias. I believe that the media took the fact that Ahmed was a Muslim student and created a racial spin on the story. They emphasized this story so much because Ahmed is Muslim to create a large stir. That’s what the media is supposed to do, right? Maybe the arrest was a bit dramatic on the school’s part, but here in the upper east coast, we’ve always been taught that if we see something, we should say something. I think the school was doing the right thing by getting the device checked out because their main job, besides teaching, is to keep students safe. If something looks like it could harm other people, something should be said, regardless of race or religion. With that in mind, I think the school should issue an apology for the arrest, but not for taking safety precautions.

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  7. codyrdano

    I first heard about this at my internship and at first I couldn’t believe it. I find it ridiculous that the teacher and the police would use such force and discrimination against this young boy. To me, this isn’t about him building a clock that resembled a bomb- it is about the young boy being Muslim. If he had been white, I think the reaction of the school and the police would have been completely different.

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  8. Jessica Granger

    When I first read about this story, I was of course in shock. It was a clear case of racial profiling. Unfortunately, while reading more into the story I can not help but agree with the teacher being cautious of this device brought into school. There have been countless amounts of school shootings and threats throughout the years at high schools and universities. Though he is clearly a bright young man, this clock was not a part of an assignment. I have no doubt that he is nice but you never know when a person can flip a switch and do something that is “so unlike him.” Because we have heard this before. I am stuck in the middle of agreeing with the racial profiling as well as agreeing with the teacher being cautious for this unassigned project brought into school.

    On another note, arresting and interrogating this underaged boy without his parents is completely out of hand and needs a public apology so I, as well as everyone else, can continue to trust our system. The police have been under pressure for a few years regarding racial profiling and this just puts the icing on the cake.

    I hope to hear of something soon…

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  9. jennsmulo

    It’s disappointing and sad that in 2015 things like this are still happening. Ahmed was simply an overly excited kid who created something he was super proud of. He was then shunned for his excitement. Whether this happened because of discrimination, an overly cautious teacher, or a combination, it’s still wrong. It could have been handled so much better, or at the very least an apology should have been issued. The only good thing that has come from this is that people are using this as an opportunity to create awareness about racial profiling and discrimination. Obama even jumped in and invited Ahmed to the White House, showing his support of the kid and children engineers in general.

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  10. Erin Schmitt

    While I think it is smart to use caution in the world that we live in today, I do believe the teacher and school took this situation too far before establishing the correct facts. I understand the inclination to question Ahmed over the clock, but to have a 14 year old arrested under those circumstances was quick judgement.
    It important for us to own up to our mistakes when the time is right. It would be appropriate for the school and the teacher to admit their wrongful accusation and offer Ahmed an apology. As a public entities, the school and the police department should be looked at as examples in the community and seen in a positive light. While at a minimum I think they should directly offer Ahmed an apology, I think it is important for this to also be made public in order for the school and the police department to improve their image as its important to their community. They can then get past this and Ahmed can use it as an opportunity for his future.
    Companies such as Facebook and Twitter have good intentions with their offerings of internships/meetings, but they are additionally using this situation as a PR opportunity for themselves as it serves as easy, positive promotion.

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  11. Liz Steinberg

    I definitely agree that the school and teachers should be issuing apologies; however, I recognize the need to keep our schools safe. It was right to question Ahmed, but I feel as though it was the police that made the real mistake (arresting him after they deemed his answers were not good enough for them). He’s a young teenager who brought a clock to school. Unfortunately, Islamophobia is very real in the US and it is always heightened around 9/11 and I think that’s the reason this played out the way it did. What could have been a very nasty memory for Ahmed will now be twisted into something less so because of everyone on Twitter (including big profile people such as Obama), so at least there’s something in that.

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  12. R.J. Cherpak

    I believe that it is necessary for the school to apologize for arresting Ahmad as I feel that going to this length was excessive. However, I do feel that this was a smart move initially on the part of the school to be suspicious about the clock especially since it so closely resembled a bomb and to consider all of the other student’s lives and faculty members lives who could have been at risk if the worst case scenario were to come about.

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  13. dannynikander

    The safety of the students is something I haven’t thought about in this situation. I understand how it might have made teachers feel uneasy; however, that doesn’t excuse that he was racially stereotyped. I guarantee that the situation would have been different if it was a white child in Ahmed’s place. I feel an apology is all that is needed in this specific case, but this should definitely say something to a lot of people about how Muslims are treated in this country.

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  14. maryreginamurphy

    In my opinion this is clearly a case of racial profiling. Simple as that, its always said but if that child was white, this would not have happened. I cannot take credit for this interpretation but I read something the other day that surely had me more interested in this story. When there is a suspected bomb present in a public place, whether it be a school or shopping mall, protocol would be first to contact the police, and second to contact the bomb squad. No such rules were followed in this case. The child was arrested and the so called ‘bomb’ was carried by many people. No bomb squad was called. Therefore, I believe that this situation was built in order to create some controversy, who may have created such a plan we may never know. But I’m sure someone in this situation saw an opportunity for headlines and 15 minutes of fame and acted upon it.

    It is also important to consider the recourse of a situation like this. What will it be like for that student in school now? This is very disruptive to him as a student, I would advise they give him the option to change teachers. For something like this to happen to a child so young really creates an impression for the rest of his life. Now he has to know, so early on, that this is the harsh reality of the world we live in. Stereotypes exist and your entire life is shaped upon them.

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  15. Allie Giordano

    For the safety of students I do think it is was a step in the right direction for the school to be cautious about the “suspicious” clock, but I do not think arresting a young 14 year old boy was necessary. Obviously it was not his plan to get in so much trouble for doing an innocent act. It’s funny to now see the amazing opportunities this young boy will get, such as going to the White House and getting offered internships from great companies. Although the outcomes ended up working in his favor, what happened to him was not fair and I do agree that he deserves proper apologies from the school, police and anyone else involved.

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  16. Sara Fox

    I do not think that there is anything wrong with taking precautions to ensure safety, especially in schools where safety has been breached in a few memorable, to say the least, attacks. However, the fact that this boy is Muslim should have nothing to do with his clock being investigated. The Sandy Hook shooter and the Columbine boys, to name just a couple, were both horrible, white terrorists. The problem here is that America is so obsessed with racial profiling, especially concerning Muslims, and the school and police took their racism out on an innocent kid. People need to truly realize that evil is within and has nothing to do with the way someone looks or the religion they practice. In conclusion, I am glad Ahmed is getting his 15 minutes of fame, but also raising awareness that this kind of blatant racial profiling is absurd. The school and authorities should most certainly feel embarrassed and issue a formal apology.

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  17. Sabrina O'Neil

    If Ahmed was a white male in this situation I do not believe he would be seen as a threat and the same precautions would not have been taken. If the school was primarily concerned about the school’s safety then they would have checked the clock before arresting Ahmed rather than assuming guilt because of his race. Regardless of race, no 14 year old that has not been found guilty of a crime should be handcuffed and put in a jail cell. The school, teachers, and police should have immediately apologized to not only save their image but to also be morally correct.

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    1. Sara Fox

      I do agree that if Ahmed was white he would not have been seen as a threat. But as I wrote in my blog post, a white boy would have been just as likely to issue some kind of attack. Just look back at recent shootings in America and a lot of the culprits are white men. And I also agree that the clock should have been checked before Ahmed was put in handcuffs and photographed to look like a criminal. This case of racial profiling was blown way out of proportion and the school and police should have issued an apology immediately!

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  18. audrathorsen

    Given the history of events that have taken place since 9/11, I think the school made the right decision in contacting the police. I agree with Bill Maher, there is nothing wrong with being cautious. Every day there are muslim terrorists sending children into public places to blow up the place. Was it racial profiling? There’s a good chance it was. I think taking precaution and possibly saving lives is worth reporting. Now that the police have discovered that the clock was not a bomb, apologies are in order. It’s sad that the child was embarrassed but in this day in age police have to take every precaution. Yes the child deserves an apology but I don’t think that the police should be scrutinized, as I believe they were just doing their job and investigating the situation. When the police get a call about a possible bomb threat, I don’t think their first thought is going to be to call the parents, I think their thoughts were to get to the bottom of a possible very serious situation.

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  19. Lysa Carre

    P.S. I copied & pasted my response directly from my paper; not knowing it’d have to be posted on the actual blog. My apologies for the long essay.

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  20. Lysa Carre

    One day as I was driving to class at Hofstra University, I heard about

    Ahmed’s story as I was parking in the school lot. Although I was running a

    couple minutes late to class due to rush hour traffic; I tuned into the radio

    since this story captured my attention and appeared to be intriguing.

    I believe presentation is everything—especially for news stories in

    particular. The radio host summarized the story similarly to the blog post of

    Professor Morosoff; however, she didn’t mention the student’s name until the

    very end before a commercial break. Her closing statement was, “the invention

    of this clock that appeared to be a bomb was created by ‘Ahmed

    Mohamed’—listeners tuning in can draw their own conclusions based on that

    name as to why he was arrested… call the radio station and tell us what you

    think.”

    Furthermore, once she mentioned the falsely accused student’s name, I

    immediately thought of this being a racial-profiling case. I believe if the

    student was of another ethnicity and/or religion then the English teacher would

    not have been so quick to assume it was an exploitive bomb. Although I

    commend her for keeping the school safe and notifying authorities right away; I

    don’t think the situation should have been blown out of proportion until it was

    thoroughly investigated first & foremost. At the very least Ahmed is owed a

    sincere apology.

    Regardless of this traumatic experience being an unfortunate disservice

    to Ahmed & his family; I strongly believe something phenomenal can come out

    of this situation. Moving forward in the future as a society, we cannot be quick

    to judge or jump to stereotypical conclusions based on one’s ethnicity/religion.

    Therefore God willingly, each & every one of us individuals can take this as a

    fundamental lesson learned.

    It is crucial we treat one another the way we would want to be

    treated—especially after taking the time to make such a creative invention

    which takes intellectual talent to pursue such as a harmless clock for instance.

    Overall, I find Professor Morosoff’s Public Relations Nation blog to be

    absolutely fascinating, insightful, and informative! I am honored to call him not

    only the chair of my graduate school department, but also my professor,

    advisor, and mentor.

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  21. Casey Lamkin

    I think this is a great example of how we’ve reached a point in society where racial profiling shouldn’t be accepted by any means. There’s being cautious and then there’s being racist. It’s important to know the fine line, and the police and school department should be aware of this line. He might be enjoying his bit of fame, but no one can go inside Ahmed’s mind and know how this situation affected him. He’s a young innocent kid, and this situation will only make the younger generations feel more rebellious towards our government. The last thing we need is more internal hatred from this country. More than an apology is necessary, and it should’ve been an enforced act immediately following the boy’s discharge. I understand being cautious is important, but there were really no concerning signs and therefore the actions of those involved are an embarrassment to our society.

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  22. Victor Alicea

    I agree. If the school and the police would have publicly apologized as soon as authorities realized that the “bomb” was indeed only a clock, there wouldn’t have been much of a backlash with the media. I also feel as though Ahmed did not even need to be put in a jail cell or publicly humiliated. If there was no charges yet, there is no reason a fourteen year old boy should have to be publicly humiliated in front of his peers. The school and police should have been more worried about evacuating the school instead of placing the bomb with Ahmed or the police for that matter. The more you analyze this situation, the more it seems like this was an act of racism than protection. If it was not already done, I could only hope that they issue an apology at some point. It was very classy from President Obama, Zuckerberg, Twitter and Reddit to shine light Ahmed’s way. He should be praised for future contributions to society.

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  23. Cass Lang

    It’s ironic that such a badly handled situation ended up opening up so many doors of opportunity for this boy. Some that may have never been opened otherwise. In light of everything, I’m sure Ahmed is kind of happy that his teacher made this mistake. It may be bad PR for the school, the police and the people who handled the situation in such a weird manner, but it is great PR for Ahmed and young muslims throughout the country. Because of his story, many ignorant people will be educated and Ahmed will have the opportunity, as an ambassador, to really make a difference for Muslims in the United States.

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  24. A. Murphy

    I believe that much of what is missing here is a timeline of when things happened. I am all for protecting students whether they be at the K-12 level or at a university. And sure, maybe people are a little “let’s call the police” happy while also being a bit “let’s blame the police,” we can’t have it both ways. Yes. The school, more so the teacher, should appologize for not looking further into the situation and more so for letting the police take a sudent that is under their care out of the building.
    But honestly, if it was a bomb and the police weren’t called, we would be having a much different conversation right now. I simply believe that a timeline would help to accurately depict what happened and when and see where errors were made so they can be corrected.

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  25. Hailey Oliveri

    I agree with you on the fact that the one thing we have yet to see in the media is apologies from the school. They’ve pretty much scared students away from any sort of creativity and educational experimenting. Schools should be encouraging this kind of creativity, not making false accusations. While I understand the school was being cautious, I believe it was taken much further than need be.

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  26. Forrest Gitlin

    The school made a mistake. That is plain as day. Whether the school and the police were overly cautious and overreacted is up for debate and I wish to take no stance on that, but they did in fact make the mistake of perceiving his home-made clock as a bomb.
    I think an apology would have been very easy to make right after the misunderstanding. However, as the publicity over this event becomes more widespread and even makes its way to the Presidential debates, I think the school is increasingly forced to go on the defensive. While trying to protect themselves from a volley of negative press, they are less likely to admit their mistake and apologize for misinterpreting the clock as a bomb and more likely to try to justify their actions.

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  27. lpardee1

    Situations such as this are very difficult. I am from Connecticut and understand the importance of school safety because of how common school attacks have become. When my home state was affected by the devastating Sandy Hook shootings you never think things like that are going to happen in your own backyard. I think that school staff are on high alert for dangerous situations. My mom being a teacher is another way I can relate to the point of view of someone seeing something and saying something. On the other hand I think that it is very very sad that an innocent child was so drastically put down for accomplishing something like building a clock. I think that things could of been handled a lot better and the hand cuffing and public example made of this kid was horrible and poorly executed.

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  28. Dale ciampa

    I think apologizes from the school and police are important to this circumstance. I also agree with Bill Maher. At this time Muslims are looked at differently because of the recent current events that have happened. I think it is important for any communicator to put themselves in perspective of the audience. The majority of the current audience is suspicious of any Muslim activity based on the facts of what has happened in the past.

    For example, recently political candidate Donald Trump was asked if Muslims put our country in danger. This question was asked because Muslims have been in the news recently in correlation to many country events. I do think the school and the police did take this to an extreme, but only for a reason. Ahmed , although a young student, is Muslim and will have a Muslim label. This unfortunately this raises further investigation to the arrest.

    It is unfortunate that Ahmed was arrested but it was only due to recent news.

    This question shows the publics interest in Muslims and their effect on the public. the In communicating to the public I think it is important to research past events to justify why the event escalated.

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  29. awoolman13

    Personally, when I think of police officers, I think of them as being arrogant and prideful. Obviously, not all police officers are like this, but its my general conclusion. My conclusion probably has a lot to do with incidents like this. Police forces will come into scenes hot and aren’t afraid to be aggressive, as they shouldn’t be. However, like everyone else, police officers make mistakes and should be held accountable when they do so. I feel as though they are too prideful to admit they made an overreaction or an unwarranted arrest and that its beneath them to issue an apology. From a PR standpoint, police forces could do a better job in issuing apologies when they have made unwarranted arrests, especially on fourteen year old boys.

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  30. blackicedtea

    An apology would not only be right but it would be absolutely necessary. Through social media, I have stumbled upon a post that reads:
    “Me- it’s sad that they thought he had a bomb
    Friend- they didn’t think he had a bomb
    Me- yes they did, they thought he made a bomb and even called the police
    Friend- they just wanted to humiliate a little Muslim, African boy. They didn’t think he had a bomb.
    Me- doesn’t be a conspiracist. They might be a little prejudiced but I’m sure they thought he had a bomb
    Friend- ok. But they didn’t evacuate the school like you would do if there were a bomb. They didn’t call the bomb squad like you would do if there were a bomb. They didn’t get as far away from him as possible like you would do if there were a bomb. Then they put him and the clock in an office, not like you would do if there were a bomb. Then they waited with him and his clock for the police to arrive. Then they put the clock in the same car as the young boy and the police officers and took pictures of it, not like you would do if there were a bomb.”

    This post opened my eyes to the possibility of racism that was present and also to the poor protocol if there were in fact a bomb in the school. Either way, racist or a poorly executed plan, an apology should be issued to the boy, his family and the whole school. If it were in fact a bomb, the school’s procedure to defuse the situation (no pun intended) was irrational and unsafe. This incident should lead to a school wide assembly, a school board meeting and a parent email explaining the mistake and perfuse apologies.

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  31. Marc Roessle

    This particular case seems like a sticky situation. Ahmed should be praised but I do not think the teacher did anything wrong, she was just trying to protect other people that were in the building. As far as PR goes, the school should publicly apologize for its actions because if they do not, it makes the school look “racist”, depending on who you ask

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  32. Pakelody Cheam

    In today’s society, caution is necessary; however, the arrest was completely uncalled for. If the clock truly posed a threat, there should have been some kind of evacuation process for the school. This has caused outrage and controversy around the world, but I agree with Profesor Morosoff, an apology needs to be made to the boy.

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  33. hallieabish

    I understand that the school was concerned based on the appearance of the clock. However, I do not think an immediate call to the police was necessary. The school could have consulted with Ahmed’s parents. Perhaps they were involved with his ongoing clock project. I also believe an apology by the school is necessary. In this case I think it is more necessary for Ahmed than for the positive image of the school. I image that Ahmed is in a state of distrust with his school. If I were him, school probably wouldn’t be the place I would be excited to attend anymore because of the way the administrators treated him.

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  34. jheiden1

    I can definitely see both sides of the story. In today’s day, it is essential to be as cautious as possible. It’s easy to point fingers at a young innocent boy, but what if the story was different? What if there was in fact a bomb inside and no one did a thing about it? It’s all about the context. Still, the administration could have gone about it in a better way. At the very least, they should give a formal apology. They made a mistake and should recognize that.

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  35. Lindsey

    An apology goes a long way in a situation such as this. Given the current state of world affairs, it is understandable that a school may want to err on the side of caution when dealing with a device that could possibly be dangerous. The fact that the teen was Muslim could be the reason for the suspicion, or just a coincidence. Either way, the school and the authorities responsible for the false arrest should apologize or at the very least explain their reasoning and mistake. Ahmed has a lot of support behind him and is helping to continue a much needed conversation about the American unfair treatment of Muslim Americans.

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  36. Rebecca Haines

    Ahmed definitely deserves an apology from his teacher and his school. Just because he is Muslim, does not mean he would bring a bomb to his school. This was all based on racial profiling. He literally made a clock that he probably just wanted to show his friends at school and ended up getting arrested for it. I can understand if the teacher was just a little concerned, but I believe they could have dealt with the issue at school. They did not have to arrest a 14 year old boy. Yes, we hear about shootings and bomb related issues at schools often, but I truly think that this arrest was based off of Ahmed being Muslim. This shows that just because someone is a certain race, religion, or skin color, does not mean they are more likely to commit a crime or bring a bomb to school.

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  37. Chelsey Fuller

    It is easy to say that the school was just being cautious, but at what cost? I can’t go into the multiple things that were done wrong in this situation because it would be too long. But I do think the school and police need to apologize. Especially with this whole police brutality to minorities that has been circulating in the news. Once it was clear that this boy did nothing wrong, there should have been an immediate statement released. That would be smart PR. It still baffles me that there has been no word from either party. In the end, this boy has been nationally praised and is being offered internships that some people can only dream about. So yes, he isn’t physically suffering but mentally this boy could be scarred. There needs to be a sincere and empathetic response from the police, the school, and the teacher that made the call.

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  38. syanok

    I think the school should definitely apologize. Even if there was a perceived “threat” of the clock being a bomb, he should not have been taken away in handcuffs and questioned without his parents being present. The officers should not have questioned him alone because he is a minor, but they seemed to just be responding to the schools bomb threat call so I don’t accuse them of racial profiling. The school however was totally wrong. Both entities should apologize however: The school system simply because of its now tarnished image and to show its stakeholders (parents, other faculty, local government, etc.) that they care about all of their students equally. The police department should apologize for placing him in a cell and questioning a minor alone, not only because this is very wrong and extreme, especially after they knew it was in fact just a clock, but because of the current social climate in the U.S.. It is a known fact that as of late there have been many cases of police brutality and profiling against people of color, and use of excessive force. Without issuing at least a small acknowledgement of their fault, I feel as though some citizens of their community might feel as though the officers believe how they treated the young boy to be acceptable, and for outsiders to generalize their department among the others who have been in hot water for mistreating citizens. In other words, their silence could possibly turn their small misstep in to a larger issue. On the other hand, people could be so busy focused on how the school handled the situation, that the police department would be better off keeping silent on the matter.

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  39. ChloeLauraDale

    While it’s unlikely, I wonder what would have happened if the school’s suspicion had been correct. What would have happened if a child (of any race) had brought in a project that was in fact a bomb. The teacher would have probably got the blame for not suspecting something was wrong and then we’d have watched the news develop and Twitter explode the same as it has done with this case. It’s a lose/lose situation really. The way the world is going, we have to ask more questions these days. We are forced to have suspicious minds. Therefore, I think the action to investigate wasn’t necessarily the issue, but how the situation was handled. I don’t think it should have escalated so quickly in the first place and how the poor boy ended up behind bars is ridiculous; however, the aftermath was by far the worst element of the incident. Failing to apologize is awful. Making a mistake in the process of trying to keep people safe is forgivable, but the apology needed to come early, before big names started to cast their opinion. It’s almost too late now and would look like a huge after thought.

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  40. joebarone28

    The teacher did everything in his or her power to protect the majority of the school and student body. The alarm clock that Ahmed made did not look like your standard alarm clock – granted it was not created by factory workers for SONY or APPLE or whoever makes alarm clock nowadays. In this day of age, you have to take precautions. It was right for the teacher to draw attention to this. I think the saying: “you’d rather be safe, than sorry…” applies here. God forbid it was a bomb, and nobody brought attention to this, we would be discussing how teachers and police do not do a good enough job protecting schools.

    All in all, it was the right thing to do, to investigate, and sure, even a simple apology.

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  41. Dan Hanson

    The school definitely had a right to be concerned because when compared side-by-side, it has incredibly similar features to that of a bomb. However, not saying that this kid did anything wrong at the same time. He accomplished something that I will definitely never be able to do. I can make microwave popcorn, not clocks. I want to keep this brief. Overall, I think this kid did something cool but if I was in that teacher’s position, I probably also would’ve flipped out. It’s just human nature. Another thought, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that in basically one day this kid gets an invite to the White House, yet it took five days to lower the flags at half staff for the victims of Chattanooga. THAT, I find is repulsive. One final word, this kid did nothing wrong and I believe is owed an apology but at the same time the school definitely had the right to be concerned.

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  42. emilyrwalsh

    I think that it was completely justifiable for the school to take precautions with the clock. However, that by no means justifies the arrest of Ahmed. Taking precautions and jumping to conclusions are two separate issues. From a PR perspective, it is necessary that the school and the police make statements and apologize because they were wrong in the way they handled the arrest of an innocent boy. Without an apology, it makes it seem as if the don’t care. I am so happy that Ahmed received tons of support throughout this time, but the support that needs to come next is from the school and the authorities.

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  43. Maddi Roman

    I think that the caution taken in the situation was necessary. The jailing and arrest of the young boy was not. It is a suspicious looking clock, but the reaction did not have to be so intense. I also feel that the school should make a public and private apology, especially with the publicity this situation has received.

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  44. Jack De Gilio

    It’s pretty crazy that both the school and the police have not actually issued an apology. From a PR standpoint, it seems like the only solution after a situation like this becomes a national discussion. I understand that not only do we all make errors, but the safety of the students is important to the teachers. I feel like it’s not necessarily wrong for them to mistake the clock for a bomb. What is wrong is the fact that they didn’t treat Ahmed with respect after they realized that it was just a clock. Clearly the school district doesn’t seem to understand the importance of public relations, especially in a situation like this, because the longer they don’t acknowledge this situation, the worse their reputation becomes.

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  45. kassaramcelroy

    Cautiousness is a necessity in the world we live in today. However, when it leads to wrongful arrest there must be an explanation. The misunderstanding can be resolved with just a simple statement from the school. I suggest this school studies up the foundations and importance of Public Relations.

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  46. Nikita Hakels

    Firstly, we all know that this incident was unfortunate and shouldn’t happen to no other person from any race or culture. Anyhow i agree to the statement that apologies will settle things and would be good in perspective of public relations. Mistakes happen and apologizing for it it is the smartest thing to do, it will enhance your image. So i think the police and the school should apologize and go clean with there image.

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  47. mcooke12014

    While we may never know if the arrest made against Ahmad was rooted in caution or racial profiling we do know that a mistake was made. That being said when you make a mistake big or small making an apology is the right and just thing to do. Publicly an apology would mend some wounds and help heal the pain this story can cause for people who personally have encountered racial profiling. Ahmad’s story is one that very easily captures the power of social media in modern day society. The coverage and exposure the story gained because of how the story affected the public is a extremely powerful and impactful.

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  48. Rachel Tyler

    The school and police made a mistake. They were being cautious and there is nothing wrong with that. Caution is something people have to have in the world we live in today. This being said, an apology should be issued to Ahmed and his family.

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  49. Jillian Zagorski

    When it comes to race in America, no one will ever come to a conclusion of agreement upon argument. We are constantly pointing fingers at who to blame, backing up our inferences with biased opinions. The world is not a safe place and unfortunately we must live scared and over precautious to prevent serious matters such as the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Looking at the picture of this home made clock, I too would have major concerns. Does it raise eyebrows even more because the child is of Muslim religion (which by the way is a religion and not a label from the color of his skin or tone of his voice) – yes it does for the ignorant citizens of America. Touching on that- the MUSLIM RELIGION has nothing to do with making bombs and causing havoc. There are bad eggs in every basket. Could a terrorist who commited mass homicide also be Muslim? Yes- but he is not Muslim because he commited mass homicide. That’s where people, ignorant people, get confused. They start attatching groups to generalizations and embedding them into their heads as the truth. Because this is the society we live in: Just as when we see a middle aged white man in a white van we assume pedophile and get the urge to run (at least I did as a little girl.) You can build a scroll of race, ethnicity, and religion attatched to any known statement by people of the world- they’re called stereotypes. And in one case or another they are often proved true, as well as often proved false. You can’t break away from stereotypes in a judgemental society, but we can start to look at a person as a human and not as the people of the “terroristic Muslims” of the world. Guess what- there are white terrorists, black terrorists, Asian terrorists etc. If I were the teacher I would have bought the boy to the principle reguardless of his appearance and background- did you see the picture of the clock? Scary. Now as for consequences- a little too far. A professional should have been admitted to the scene right then and there. This is a child we are dealing with, and since found innocent I can’t even imagine the fear he had. I wouldn’t call this racial profiling- that’s a little excessive. I would simply call this a rightfully so precaution that I would have taken no matter if the boy was a girl, a man, a woman black, white, Spanish. We do not live in a safe place. An apology to Ahmed should be made, and case closed.

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  50. Sophia S.

    Definitely agree that there should be a public apology issued, especially since so much attention has been brought to the situation. I believe the longer they wait, the more ‘fake’ the apology will look to the public eye.

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  51. Peta Clayton

    I agree that it would be in the school’s best interest to apologize and I am surprised that they haven’t released a statement yet. Not only should the school apologize but they should have his teacher issue an apology as well. I can understand that caution is necessary in certain circumstances but I don’t think that anyone who made a bomb would be proudly showing it to their teachers. That just doesn’t make sense to me. I think that his school, teacher, and the police need to issue some sort of apology. They’re very fortunate that his parents haven’t filed a lawsuit against them in response.

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  52. Jeff Lansky

    I agree that both the school and the police should apologize to Ahmed. I agree with Maher that there is nothing wrong with being a little cautious with the situation, but to arrest Ahmed was a step too far. The school took control by making sure the students were safe, but to call the police and have Ahmed arrested without confirming the clock was a bomb is unacceptable.

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  53. alexivelasquez

    The administration definitely could have handled this situation better especially without embarrassing a 14 year-old boy in front of his classmates. Although Ahmed has received overwhelming support from the public, the school and the police made a mistake, and an apology is definitely necessary. It would allow both the administration and the police to at least save their public image.

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  54. vciavarella24

    I can see where teachers were taking precaution but it was completely unfair that poor Ahmed was being singled out for hard work at the age of 14. This was definitely blown out of proportion and faculty overreacted because I do not believe that any 14 year old would be doing any harm. Yes in this day and age anything is possible and anything can happen, but an apology is extremely necessary. For Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama to be giving him all this praise that shows a lot. The real question is would the school have acted differently if the student was not muslim?

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  55. Emily DiLaura

    I can understand both sides to this, to a degree. Whether the teacher was being cautious or afraid is something we may never have an answer for, but I think it’s still insane the restraints taken upon the young boy by the cops. Regardless, I believe that an apology is necessary from the teacher, the school, and the police, as it is obvious everyone made a mistake. It would probably make the whole situation less uncomfortable.

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  56. Judea Hartley

    This story honestly makes me sad. I am completely understanding to the fact that his English teacher thought the clock was a bomb, but what ever happened to asking the student what it was?? What ever happened to actually inspecting the device?? I believe that the calling of the police is a direct correlation to rascism. If a Caucasian teenager brought in a homemade clock, nobody would have called the police assuming that it was a Bomb. I understand that the American people are extra caucious (as they should be considering terrorist attacks such as 9/11 and the history behind El Queda) but assuming, furthermore arresting a 14 year old boy who was falsely accused of having a bomb, is sad and straight rascism. I think apologies should be given by the teacher personally, the school, and the police department. Quite the contrary, it is the police’s duty to respond when they receive a call regarding a situation that could possibly put people in great danger. Because of Ahmed’s embarrassment and suffering, I do believe that he should have been offered internships etc. to tell his story. His love for science turned into a nightmare for him and his family at that present time. It’s sad to see rascism still existing throughout our world; furthermore, people being categorized, judged, and labeled.

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  57. Victoria Reid

    I agree that both the school and the police should give an apology to Ahmed and his family. I think it’s extremely impressive that he built a clock from scratch at 14. As a country we’ve gone through a lot and I could understand why some people feel they have to be “overcautious” in life, but when that cautiousness becomes prejudice it’s no longer effective. For a teacher automatically think that a kid would bring a bomb to school simply because he is Muslim is ridiculous. It’s great to see that people across the nation showed support for Ahmed. After humiliating him in the way that they did, I think it’s only right that they apologize even if it’s only in an effort to repair their image.

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  58. Sam

    I, being a cynic, feel like a lot of the support being shown to Ahmed isn’t necessarily genuine. And what I mean by this is that, while yes it’s nice that various companies and politicians are inviting Ahmed to look at their facilities or to have some kind of fancy dinner, I just feel like a lot of it is being done with the intentions of just looking good. I feel like good deeds and charity have just become a way of making yourself look good.

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  59. Sarah

    I believe the school and police department should apologize for their actions. Yes, it was only a mistake but sometimes you have to step up and take credit for what you have done. It is so nice to see that large corporations, colleges and even the President reached out to Ahmed and supported him.

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  60. jhlabella

    When I read this story for the first time my first thought was, WOW this teacher should 100% be embarrassed of the mistake she made. I fully agree that the school as well as the teacher personally should issue and apology. Although the student is receiving much credit for his creation not to mention his 15 min of fame, I am sure that at first it was a shock and disappointment to him that not even his teacher could support him.

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  61. Daphne Kotridis

    Of course the school and the police need to apologize for totally freaking out and making assumptions towards the student. While I believe in erring on the side of caution (especially given some of the horrible things that have happened in schools recently) I find it unbelievable that this teacher would even come up with the idea that this student brought a bomb to school and called it a clock. But at the same time, what if it was a bomb and she said nothing?

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  62. Martin Bradshaw

    It seems to me that the situation was blown wildly out of control. There is no reason for Ahmed to be treated in that way when there was very little evidence that the teacher’s suspicions were true at all. The fact that the story received so much attention in the media makes it extremely important for the school and all those involved to issue sincere and meaningful apologies. After the amount of support that Ahmed has received, it will take a very long time for the school to live this incident down and put it behind them. They have their work cut out for themselves from a PR standpoint.

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  63. Kylie Todd

    Wow. I had heard about this story and the outpour of support from everyday people around the world. But I had no idea that huge companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google, or even the President had shown such enormous support and offered such incredible opportunities to him. I think that’s wonderful and well deserved. I hope he takes advantage of these opportunities and does amazing things with them.

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  64. Tara

    I agree that the school and Ahmed’s teacher should definitely apologize, at least to Ahmed himself. I don’t care if they do it publicly, but what they did was wrong and I hope they can acknowledge that. Like Zuckerberg said, Ahmed should have received applause not arrest. I recently read an article claiming that they did not even take bomb precautions such as evacuating the school, instead they put the clock in an office with Ahmed while they called the police. If they really thought it was a bomb wouldn’t they have gotten everyone as far away as possible? Or was it all an overreaction to embarrass this boy?

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  65. Katherine Hammer

    I agree that the police and school should give a public apology to Ahmed Mohamed. I understand the caution people of authority have to take in the world today, but when someone is wrong about something they should own up to it. Ahmed is a teenager and this situation was definitely traumatizing especially because he did nothing wrong. I believe they reacted too quickly to the situation. Whenever a mistake is made there must be an apology, it is just good communication. Taking this long to give an apology is not good public relations, especially when considering all of the factors that go along with this situation.

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  66. Alexis Carfagno

    I definitely agree that the school and police should apologize. Whether it was being cautionary or for other reasons that people may argue, the school and police clearly made a mistake in thinking the clock was a bomb and going through the extent of even having Ahmed arrested. With every public relations error, the most important thing to do in times of a public relations crisis, is to admit to your mistakes, which in this case, would be to apologize to Ahmed. It’s nice to see the outpour of support towards Ahmed that was given to him by such influential individuals such as President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg.

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  67. emilyfgreen

    I definitely think it’s important that the school and police give Ahmed a sincere apology, if only for PR purposes. Right now, the general consensus from the public is very negative in the direction of the school and Texas police, and an apology could certainly help improve that. I personally believe that the situation went too far from the start. I do agree that caution in today’s society is extremely important and vital to keeping us safe. Perhaps the clock should have been inspected as it was. However, I think it was wrong to arrest Ahmed before the clock was examined. I think it was unfair to arrest a young teenage boy without proof that he had done anything bad. If they had simply inspected the clock before arresting him, I think their image would not have been hindered as much as it is now.

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  68. Abby Drapeau

    It’s clear that the school and police made a mistake, any when a mistake is made an apology should follow. Ahmed is lucky that he received an outpouring of support nationwide, and I agree with what a lot of them are saying-Ahmed should be applauded for being able to build a clock at 14, not arrested.

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  69. Zhen

    I agree. The school should definitely apologize if only for PR. At least America has shown to the outside world and other Muslims that we are not heartless by showing support for Ahmed after the incident.

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