U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Judge Throws Out 'Clock Boy' Discrimination Case

Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student, made a clock and took it to school.

But it looked like a bomb, his teacher said. The principal agreed and summoned police, who arrested the teenager.

It turned out to be a clock, but blew up in a media storm and an invitation to the White House for the baffled "clock boy." His parents sued unsuccessfully, apparently because there is no case for being smarter than your teacher.

Civil Rights

Kelly D. Hollingsworth, their attorney, had demanded $15 million from the City of Irving and the Irving Independent School District. He said school officials and police overreacted and "irrationally assumed that Ahmed was dangerous because of his race, national origin, and religion."

"Let's face it; if Ahmed's clock were 'Jennifer's clock,' and if the pencil case were ruby red bedazzled with a clear rhinestone skull and crossbones on the cover, this would never have happened," he said.

The defendants rejected the demand, and the plaintiffs sued the city, the school, the principal, and the police.

Judge Sam Lindsay dismissed the case last year, finding he could not "reasonably infer" any school employee intentionally discriminated against him. That decision became the judgment of the court on March 13, 2018.

"Justifiable Actions"

City officials said that they were "extremely pleased" with the latest decision. They said in a release that it "supports the justifiable actions" taken by police.

"We remain committed to ensuring the safety of all Irving residents and schoolchildren," the statement said.

Like the Mohameds, the city has been subjected to much unwanted attention during the two-year court battle. The Washington Post said it already had a history of anti-Muslim controversy.

That controversy might not be over yet. The Mohameds are considering an appeal.

Related Resources: