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MacArthur High School officials were alarmed after a 14-year-old student brought a homemade digital clock to school. Google Maps hide caption

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MacArthur High School officials were alarmed after a 14-year-old student brought a homemade digital clock to school.

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A 14-year-old boy says he was just trying to show off his engineering skill when he brought a digital clock he had made to his new high school in Irving, Texas. But Ahmed Mohamed was detained and reportedly suspended from school, after a teacher thought that his clock looked like a bomb.

The aspiring engineer repeatedly said that it was not, in fact, a bomb. But the teacher and the principal of MacArthur High School were alarmed, and they called police, who questioned Mohamed, handcuffed him and led him out of school. He was then fingerprinted before being released to his family, who say he received a three-day suspension from school.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Obama Invites Mohamed To White House

Our original post continues:

A photograph from Monday shows Mohamed wearing both a NASA T-shirt and handcuffs as officers escort him through a hallway in Irving, which is about 10 miles west of Dallas.

The police tell local news outlets that while they acknowledge that Mohamed didn't try to perpetrate a bomb hoax, they were also unsatisfied with his explanation.

"He would simply only tell us that it was a clock, " police spokesman James McLellan says. "He didn't offer an explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school."

A photo released by the Irving Police Department shows the digital clock built by Ahmed Mohamed, using a pencil case. Irving Police Department hide caption

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A photo released by the Irving Police Department shows the digital clock built by Ahmed Mohamed, using a pencil case.

Irving Police Department

Responding to questions about the incident, the Irving school district released a statement in which it said that students and staff at its schools are encouraged to report any suspicious behavior.

No criminal charges were filed — but Mohamed's family says the school and police overreacted. And the case has raised questions over whether Mohamed was treated with particular suspicion because of ethnic and religious bias.

"I think this wouldn't even be a question if his name wasn't Ahmed Mohamed, " Alia Salem of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations tells local news WFAA. "He is an excited kid who is very bright and wants to share it with his teachers."

Source: www.npr.org
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