However one teacher was, it appears, overzealous in being cautious by calling the police when a 14 year old student brought his home made science invention into the classroom.
Ahmed Mohamed has crafted a clock from rudimental electronics in his bedroom but rather than praise the student for innovation MacArthur High School called police and the boy was arrested and handcuffed.
The Dallas News reports that the first teacher he showed it to in the morning was ambivalent but when the device beeped in a later lesson and the schoolboy showed that teacher, she commented that it looked like a bomb and it was confiscated.
Later Mohamed was taken from his class and arrested.
In a letter sent home to all students’ parents, Principal Dan Cummings wrote:
“While we do not have any threats to our school community, we want you to be aware that the Irving Police Department responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus yesterday. We are pleased to report that after the police department’s assessment, the item discovered at school did not pose a threat to your child’s safety.”
School officials said that the device had looked suspicious but described the incident as a “naïve accident”. Spokesman Larry Boyd denied that the student’s religious background played any part in the incident and said “it would have been the same in any circumstance.”
While the incident has been traumatic for Ahmed Mohamed, who said later that he thought about changing schools, it has led to some high profile invitations and showing of support.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Google and IBM have all praised his interest in science and invited him to visit. And President Obama posted on Twitter: “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.”
The need for security in schools is arguably higher now than it has ever been. The US has a history of high school tragedies and the current culture of suspicion is perhaps understandable.