Schools just don’t understand child prodigies.
Irving, TX — This week, a young boy in Texas gathered support from around the world after he was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school.
14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed’s invention was mistaken for a bomb and he was treated like a terrorist instead of a child prodigy. After his story drew widespread media attention, he received personal invitations and offers from MIT, Facebook, and a number of other businesses and organizations. President Obama, known for executing boys Ahmed’s age, even invited him to the White House in Washington D.C.
Many people feel that Ahmed has a bright future ahead of him, and they are probably right. It is also interesting to point out that he isn’t the only technology expert to be punished for bringing one of his creations to school. In fact, according to a new biography on Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak actually intentionally built a fake bomb in high school — and was arrested as a result.
“In twelfth grade [Wozniak] built an electronic metronome—one of those tick-tick-tick devices that keep time in music class—and realized it sounded like a bomb. So he took the labels off some big batteries, taped them together, and put it in a school locker; he rigged it to start ticking faster when the locker opened. Later that day he got called to the principal’s office. He thought it was because he had won, yet again, the school’s top math prize. Instead he was confronted by the police. The principal had been summoned when the device was found, bravely ran onto the football field clutching it to his chest, and pulled the wires off. Woz tried and failed to suppress his laughter. He actually got sent to the juvenile detention center, where he spent the night. It was a memorable experience. He taught the other prisoners how to disconnect the wires leading to the ceiling fans and connect them to the bars so people got shocked when touching them.”
In Ahmed’s case, the police admit he never once said the device was a bomb — and they never had any reason to believe that it was. But the police still seemed to think he was lying about something, even though they didn’t have any proof.
Eventually, the police accused him of making a clock and misrepresenting it as a bomb, even though he consistently told everyone it was a clock and denied it was a bomb when the teachers or the police suggested as much. The young man was then handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center and his clock was confiscated and put in an evidence room. He was also suspended from school and was unable to join a student council meeting he was previously scheduled to attend. Police ultimately decided not to press charges.
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