A student who brought a homemade clock to school was arrested on suspicions that his clock could be a bomb. Many have said the school and police overreacted, and for a long time conservative commentators have been pointing to examples of schools overreacting to toy guns at school, but in this particular case they weren’t so outraged. Some conservative bloggers defended the school.
Let’s look at the blog Young Conservatives, for example. In the past the blog has posted items criticizing schools for excessive policing of students like these:
Fail: A student is facing a possible year-long suspension from school for playing with toy guns…at his house
See this 7-Year-Old? You won’t BELIEVE why he was suspended from school last week [for having a toy gun]
11-Year-Old Student Suspended for Bringing NERF Bullet and Toothpick to School
“A five-year-old girl from Alabama was forced to sign a suicide and homicide contract after pretending her crayon was a gun. Feel free to face palm.”
That last one was written by Michael Cantrell, so you would think he would have the same kind of outrage to express about the clockmaker’s arrest?
Well, no… He’s defended the school and police and attacking the critics of the school in his article “This Meme Shows What the Media Won’t tell you About the Digital Clock That Caused a Muslim Student to get Arrested.”
What I didn’t mention is that the student was a non-white Muslim, because that shouldn’t be relevant to whether or not it was wrong for him to be arrested. However it has been a leading fact in stories on either side of the debate.
Cantrell also tried to link the story to politics:
As you might imagine, progressive race hustlers immediately started salivating over the incident, chomping at the bit to start tossing out the “racist” label as quickly as possible, politicizing the incident to boost support for the Democratic Party and their push to appear like “tolerant” social justice warrior do-gooders out to save the world.
It’s a story about a local school district and local police… What the hell does it have to do with the Democratic Party?
In reality, they just want to expand the voter base…
What, at all, does this have to do with driving voter behavior? Was the outrage at the student who had a Pop Tart “in the shape of a gun” just meant to “expand the voter base”?
And if this blogger is so outraged at people being suspended for having toy guns and Pop Tarts, then why isn’t he outraged at people being suspended for having clocks? He could use this very story to “expand the voter base” for his side. Instead, too many conservatives are viewing it as a story of a Muslim being arrested rather than a story of a student being arrested due to brain-dead “politically correct” policies against supposed threats.
True, this story has also gotten a lot of attention from liberal blogs because of the boy’s race and religion–for the opposite reason; those bloggers are focusing on their suspicions that he was wrongly arrested due to anti-Muslim stereotypes rather than being wrongly arrested due to “zero tolerance”-type policies. Conservatives always like to attack liberals for claiming minorities are mistreated, but sometimes they are, but even if this case wasn’t about his religion, those who are opposed to zero tolerance should be outraged about it.
Of course I wasn’t at the school and don’t know if the student said or did anything suspicious. I–like the many other bloggers who jumped on this local story–can only rely on the reporting of others. But it seems from this Washington Post article that no one was really suspicious of the clock being a bomb.
The English teacher who said “it looks like a bomb” took it and “kept the clock, and during sixth period, Mohamed was pulled out of class by the principal and a police officer.”
If this teacher really thought it might be a bomb, why would she keep it for some amount of time?
Later the article claims that one of the police who was questioning him said, “It looks like a movie bomb to me.”
The reference to “movie bomb” seems to suggest a fake bomb, a prop.
“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car,” [Officer] McLellan said.
Sure, but look at the context. It wasn’t left under a car. It was in his backpack and then on the teacher’s desk.
The police claim the boy was evasive:
Irving chief Boyd said he did “not have answers to your specific question” about the allegation.
But is being evasive grounds for arrest? If they knew it wasn’t a bomb, what was the arrest for?
It seems like the whole thing was a crazy overreaction. Schools make students abide by a long “code of conduct” with unnecessary rules and prohibitions. People get uptight about so many things that cause no problems. They were apparently scared that the student might have been trying to cause a disturbance, but the teachers and police were the only ones who contrived a disturbance. And police arresting someone for these questionable reasons perhaps is a symbolic of why America has so many people incarcerated.
Now there might be some truth to the arguments noted by Allahpundit at HotAir.com that liberals really exploded in disproportionate fashion over this particular story. In fact, that President Obama tweeted about it and that CAIR started a “hold up actual clocks” (as opposed to the refashioned-digital-clock-parts-inside-a-pencil-case style favored by the student) Twitter campaign shows that it might also be an example of Twitter outrage culture gone crazy.
— CAIR-Chicago (@cairchicago) September 16, 2015
So be it. But the headlines–on both sides–should put the actions first and put the identity of the subject in the text of the story.