It was September on a nice Texas afternoon when Dallas/Fort Worth went bananas over a cute kid, a NASA t-shirt, an idiot teacher and a clock that was mistaken for a bomb. You know, an average Monday.
His name, in case you forgot — and by the look of the constant secondary headlines, you haven’t — was Ahmed Mohamed. The Irving Independent School District mistook a school project that took 10 minutes built from scrap around the house for a clandestine act of terrorism hidden in a backpack.
The 14-year-old egghead wanted to impress his engineering teacher, who admittedly was impressed but suggested young Ahmed leave the thing in his backpack. He didn’t… and the rest is history.
Following a galavanting across America with stops on nightly talk shows, the Google Science Fair, broadcasting opportunities, a Facebook tour led by some guy named Zuckerberg, and a brief stint at the White House, Ahmed ended up with his family in Qatar.
And now, while the spotlight has left the United Arab Emirates and young Ahmed in it, his parents has decided now is the time to sue the Irving ISD and its home city for $15 million. Oh, and sincere apologies. That should help the sting.
“The numbers are huge, and we admit that,” said attorney Kelly Hollingsworth from his offices near Lubbock. “But the damages caused against this young man and his family are incalculable.”
It seemed everyone in this country “stood with Ahmed” because of the unfair scrutiny and reprehensible embarrassment he and his family experienced. So, as we all stood, we watched karma slap the Irving ISD in the mug as President Obama tweeted Ahmed before most of the headlines had even dried on the newspaper.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
We all laughed, pointed, and applauded Ahmed. If that is the result of being taken away in handcuffs, sign us all up. Ahmed went from local story to national star. And now, he wants $10 million from the City and $5 million from the beleaguered school district.
Hollingsworth says the situation was all made worse when city and school officials fanned the flames in a divided community after the case drew national media attention.
“You can find other cases where there is a wrongful arrest or detention and when there are mistakes made by school officials,” he said. “What you can’t find is the second phase, which is when they went out into the media and had an orchestrated campaign against a 14-year-old boy.”
How strange many in social media have turned on the young man wearing a wonderful shirt purchased from Target all because of this lawsuit. Amazing how lawyers bring out the worst in people.
Closing thought: Ahmed got his incredible 15 minutes. Maybe leave the $15 million alone?