Opinion Editorial Board: Safety as well as sensitivity should have been sought as MacArthur student was arrested for suspected bomb

LeopardLife Lily Hager and Madeline Sanders, Co Editors in Chief

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A 14-year-old freshman at Irving MacCarthur High School was arrested after his teacher thought that his home made clock resembled a bomb. The student, Ahmed Mohamed, has gained many supporters saying that the authorities acted on racial assumptions, or authorities acted unfairly on a student. The authorities claim race played no part in the arrest.

“Our reaction would have been the same either way,” Irving police chief Larry Boyd said. “That’s a very suspicious device. We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to a school.”

Ahmed has gained popularity almost overnight through social media using the hashtag #IStandWithAhemd. He gained a lot of attention when the president himself, Barack Obama, called his clock “cool” and invited him, and the clock, to the White House.

While the support is always something to grow and be proud of in America, did everybody respond to this situation responsibly? America was reminded recently with 9/11 being 14 years ago that tragedies happen in America. Even without considering race, Americans learned to raise security to prevent tragedies like it happening again. A lot has happened in 14 years, and people may be beginning to forget why standards were raised.

It is important for officials to be cautious of possible acts that could harm other people. However, Ahmed was arrested without his device being ascertained as a bomb. Ahmed had shown inventions to his teachers in the past, so it wasn’t unusual for Ahmed to be showing creations to the class. If Ahmed had told his teacher that he was bringing a homemade clock a day or two before, teachers and authorities may have been able to respond to it in a more calm and mature way. There may have been less of a panic, and police may not have been involved.

Citizen’s reactions against the police’s actions also may have been calmed if Ahmed was not taken to jail until the clock was confirmed to be a bomb. While removing him from the school property was a necessary precaution to be sure the school was safe, punishment was not valid.

In a similar situation in 2012, a shooter was not caught in time to save several lives in Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  Had this attack somehow been prevented with stricter precautions and authorities, more than twenty people would be alive today. For that reason, many schools raised their security standards.

Lovejoy campuses have a doorbell with a camera at the front office. Leaders strongly suggest to students not to let people into the school if they are knocking. If somebody needs to enter the school, they will either go through the front, or already own a badge to get in. Lovejoy’s number one rule, along with most other schools, is to keep students and staff safe.  While at MacArthur, while they kept the school safe, they put an innocent student behind bars.

While caution from authorities should always be welcomed, authorities should recognise when to hold back in those situations while achieving that goal of keeping students safe at all times. Although the situation with Ahmed was not handled well on many levels, students and police hopefully learned how to handle similar situation

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Opinion Editorial Board: Safety as well as sensitivity should have been sought as MacArthur student was arrested for suspected bomb