Petitions delivered at Irving Independent School District headquarters in Texas on Friday seek an apology and suspension reversal for MacArthur High School freshman Ahmed Mohamed.
The 14-year-old student was handcuffed Monday for bringing a homemade clock to school that was initially suspected to be a hoax bomb.
“We understand that school safety is very important and we understand that was already taken care of once this interrogation started. Everybody knew this was not a bomb,” said petition supporter Shayan Elahi.
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Petition supporters said they gathered 13,000 signatures, 9,000 from Texas and 400 from Irving.
“We send our children to school to be educated, not to be humiliated,” petition supporter Terry Meza said.
Irving ISD Communication Director Lesley Weaver offered no apologies.
“We stand behind our teacher. We believe she followed the correct process when she heard the homemade device beeping in her classroom,” Weaver said.
A group of more than a dozen Mohamed student supporters demonstrated Friday afternoon outside MacArthur High, where the freshman would have been free to return Friday after completing a three-day suspension.
“They’re saying that what they did was right and they didn’t do anything wrong and I think that is ridiculous,” said Muram Ibrahim, a student at Irving ISD’s Singley Science Academy.
A man who declined to give his name interrupted the student protest with comments being voiced in social media on another side of the issue.
“You bring something looks like a bomb, you get what you deserve,” the man said. “This whole thing is stupid. It’s outrageous. It’s stupid.”
Mohamed’s family has been overwhelmed the past few days with mostly social media support and national media attention. He accepted an invitation to visit the White House. He refused to return to MacArthur High School.
His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, spent another day on the phone Friday receiving media requests and considering school options.
“We cannot sleep, rest, relax, go to work, our job, because of the media. People are so eager to know what is going on and what’s happening. I don’t blame them. All this is caused by this incident,” he said.
The father said his son has received offers from many schools, but will request a week of leave from Irving ISD to rest and consider which school to attend.
The family also had not picked up the homemade clock from Irving police. The President said he wants to see it when the teen visits.