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Family of Clock-Building Teen Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against School Officials

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At the start of last school year, a high school in Texas made national news after handcuffing one of its students for making a homemade clock officials mistook for a bomb.

The student and STEM enthusiast, Ahmed Mohamed, soon became a face for how discrimination effects schoolchildren; the image of him wearing a NASA T-shirt and confusedly looking at the camera while in handcuffs moved countless leaders to speak out on his behalf. Shortly after the incident, Ahmed was even invited to be a guest at The White House, an invitation he accepted and led to a chat with President Barack Obama himself. 

A year later, the Texas high school and Ahmed are back in the news after his family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Irving Independent School District. The family is suing the district from their new residence in Qatar, where the family decided to move after the incident occurred.

According to CBS News, Ahmed’s family have already tried to receive reparations from the district before deciding to file the suit.

"A law firm representing Ahmed Mohamed sent letters in November of last year demanding $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the Irving Independent School District. The letters also threatened lawsuits and sought written apologies,” CBS News said.

Specifically, the family’s lawsuit "alleges that Ahmed was discriminated against based on his race and religion. It also claims his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was interrogated by police and principal Daniel Cummings for over an hour without the presence of his parents before he was arrested,” says The Washington Post.

Ahmed told the Post that his life in Qatar has been much different than his life in Irving and that he no longer is able to pursue his passion for building.

“The number one thing people think about me is that I’m living ‘the life’ . . . But I can’t build anymore. My dad doesn’t have a job anymore. I moved from my house to an apartment. I lost my place for building things. Over [in Qatar] it’s very boring, I can’t do anything. The only thing I can do is use the Internet,” he said, according to the Post.

Read the full story here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

8/8/2016

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